When I talked to Herb Asher, a local elections expert and professor emeritus at Ohio State, he had the following to say about the date of Ohio's primary, "I think Ohio has made a wise choice. If the nominations are wrapped up [before March], there’s not going to be much excitement. If it’s not, then we look like geniuses.”
Seems the Ohio legislature, which decides the state's primary date, made a genius move not to move up our nominating election from March 4. This was considered a while back.
Why? Because candidates are looking to Ohio now that neither the Democratic or Republican nominations have been wrapped up.
That's especially true for the Democratic candidates. Barack Obama's total delegate count is 709; Clinton's is 783. On the Republican side, John McCain has a commanding delegate lead, but the Arizona senator has angered the party's conservative base and got little love in the South, which was swept by Mike Huckabee. Without the South, it'd be tough to shore up a nomination.
For anyone who couldn't stay up, this video and this video have the basics of last night's craziness. Here are print versions from CNN.com and The New York Times.
Of the states yet to hold primaries, only Texas and Pennsylvania offer more Democratic delegates than Ohio. Only Texas holds more Republican delegates. That could mean more visits to the Buckeye State by the major players. [Primary list]
Candidates could kill two birds with one visit here: Coming to Ohio could shore up numerous convention delegates and also boost crucial statewide support for a White House run, were the candidate to win the nomination. Always a general-election bellweather, Ohio definitely is important in the primary. We weren't lost in the Super Tuesday shuffle, and now the focus will be on us in four weeks.
Here is a breakdown of the delegates each won yesterday and previously:
Democrats Hillary Clinton Barack Obama
Republicans John McCain Mitt Romney Mike Huckabee Ron Paul