Take a deep breath … now exhale.
One more time.
Deep breath … exhale.
Feeling relaxed? Good. Because if you were irritated by all of those Issue 3 advertisements heading into last week’s election, keep in mind that it was only a warm-up to what Ohio is likely to see in the year ahead.
The long grind begins now to the next general election — Nov. 8, 2016 — when voters will select the 44th president of the United States. Expect to be bombarded with robo calls, slick-to-silly political ads, and a bevy of promises just for starts.
Courtesy of the Associated Press, here are some key dates in the year ahead:
• Feb. 1, 2016: The storied Iowa caucuses. Iowans meet to choose their favorite for the Republican and Democratic nominations, the first votes that count in the presidential contest after several years of positioning by the hopefuls and a months-long blizzard of opinion polls.
• Feb. 9, 2016: The storied New Hampshire primary. After this, the intimate flavor of politicking in small states will give way to big rallies and advertising blitzes.
• Feb. 20, 2016: The Republican South Carolina primary — first primary in the South as well as the first in a state with a large non-white population — and the Nevada Democratic caucuses.
• March 1, 2016: There’s no clump in U.S. politics like Super Tuesday, when contests are held in 13 states. Among the big ones for both parties: Colorado, Texas, and Virginia. Until this point, the race is largely one of expectations and bounce. Super Tuesday, though, offers a huge cache of delegates needed for the nomination. It’s typically when the numbers really start to count.
• March 15, 2016: Another big night for winning delegates and scoring in battleground states, with primaries in Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida. The Florida primary, a big deal in its own right, takes on added significance because Floridians Marco Rubio, the senator, and Jeb Bush, the ex-governor, are running.
• May 29, 2016: How many Republican rivals will be still be standing by the end of May? This is the date in 2012 when Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination — the Texas primary pushed him over the edge.
• June 3, 2016: Will the Democratic race drag out this long? Barack Obama secured the nomination over Hillary Rodham Clinton on this date in 2008, thanks to the final primaries, in Montana (which he won) and South Dakota (which he lost), as well as a heaping helping of support from party establishment figures known as superdelegates.
• July 18-21, 2016: Republican National Convention, Cleveland, crowns the winner, dazzles partisans.
• July 25-28, 2016: Ditto for the Democrats, in Philadelphia.
• Sept. 26, 2016: The first of three head-to-head debates of the Democratic and Republican nominees, in Ohio.
• Oct. 9, 2016: The second presidential debate, St. Louis.
• Oct. 19, 2016: The last presidential debate, Las Vegas.
• Nov. 8, 2016: Election Day.
Good luck, and remember — breathe.