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The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (Provided via Ohio Department of Development)

Ohio will be an important win for Republicans

Four presidential candidates come into focus for the Ohio primary. 

As the primary election in Ohio nears, the race for party nominations remain tight, and Ohio will be particularly important for Republicans.

On Tuesday, Ohioans can expect a close race between businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Each state is allocated a certain number of delegates for the Democratic and Republican primaries by its respective national parties.

The Democratic Party also assigns superdelegates to party leaders, who can pledge support to a candidate of their choice, regardless of election results.

To win the nomination in either party, a candidate must win a majority of the delegates.

Excluding superdelegates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton currently has 766 delegates, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has 551 delegates. In the Democratic primary, 2,383 delegates constitutes a majority.

On the Republican side, a candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination. Trump has about 460 delegates, and Kasich has about 63 delegates.

Democratic Primary

Clinton won Ohio in 2008 and won in Athens by a thin margin. According to numbers from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, Clinton received 49 percent of the vote in Athens while President Barack Obama received 48 percent of the vote in 2008.

“This state has been very, very good to our family,” former President Bill Clinton said in a speech to supporters in Columbus on March 9.   

Recent polls show Clinton leading Sanders in Ohio. A Quinnipiac University Poll found that among likely Democratic Primary voters in Ohio, Clinton leads with 52 percent to Sanders’ 43 percent. The poll, however, found that Sanders had more support than Clinton among likely Democratic voters between 18 and 44 years old.

Polls by CNN/ORC International and Public Policy Polling also showed Clinton leading Sanders in Ohio.

Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said after Clinton’s surprise upset in Michigan, it’s reasonable to think the results in Ohio may be closer than the polls suggest.

“I think Clinton is still on her way to the nomination, it’s just that I think it’s been harder for her than they expected,” Kondik said.

According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Clinton earned about $1.2 million in individual contributions from Ohio and about $6,000 from Athens.

Bernie earned about $381,000 in Ohio, and about $5,000 in Athens.

Republican Primary

Recent polls have indicated a tight race between Trump and Kasich. While most of the polls showed Kasich trailing Trump in Ohio, the latest poll, conducted by Fox News, found Kasich ahead of Trump 34 points to 29 points among likely Republican Primary voters in the state.

Republicans who oppose Trump have been looking to Tuesday’s primary election in Ohio and Florida to slow Trump’s momentum as the party’s front-runner and to increase the likelihood of a contested convention. Contested conventions occur when none of the candidates have a clear majority of the delegates.

“If he doesn’t win either Florida or Ohio, the chance of a contested convention go way up, it seems like,” Kondik said.

Ohio is a winner-take-all state for Republicans, which means the candidate who receives the most votes in the state receives all 66 of its delegates. Florida, the other winner-take-all state holding a Tuesday primary, awards 99 delegates.

At a campaign rally in Dayton during the weekend, Trump criticized Kasich for voting in favor of the North American Free Trade agreement and for his past affiliation with Lehman Brothers, a bank that went bankrupt leading up to the financial crisis in 2008.

“Kasich is a baby. He can’t be president — too many problems,” Trump said, during the rally Saturday. “I will do such a great job, you have no idea.”

Pete Couladis, the chair of the Athens County Republican Party, said he thinks Kasich will win Tuesday. Couladis said Trump was inexperienced.

“You can tell by just how reckless he is with his comments,” Couladis said. “He doesn’t understand specific issues.”

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Couladis referred to Kasich as “the adult” in the GOP debates and said he has a more realistic approach to the issues.

Kasich has received about $3.6 million in individual contributions from Ohio and almost $4,000 from Athens.

Trump has received about $34,000 in Ohio and $130 in Athens.


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