The Latest: 2 votes apiece for Republicans in coveted Ohio

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on campaign 2016 (all Eastern Standard Times):

8:40 a.m.

Every Republican primary voter in Ohio has two opportunities to vote for president, in a ballot twist that’s only escalating the potential confusion caused by the party’s large and fractious field of candidates.

GOP ballots for the March 15 primary feature two boxes for president, one for designating an at-large presidential delegate and one for designating a delegate for the voter’s congressional district. It’s a carry-over from a time when Ohio’s Republican vote was divided proportionally, rather than in the winner-take-all fashion being used in 2016.

The Secretary of State’s office says both boxes will be tallied. However, Republicans say only the at-large vote will count.

Further complicating matters? Ballots still list 11 Republican at-large presidential candidates and up to 10 district candidates. Only four remain in the primary race.


8:00 a.m.

Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says that if the “mood” in the Republican party doesn’t turn around, the GOP will lose to Hillary Clinton.

“This is the tough spot I want us to avoid,” Rubio told NBC’s Today Show. “I don’t want us to have a nominee that people have to settle for, or make excuses for why they voted. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. And the only way to do this is to unify around a campaign like mine. Because I can bring this party together, and I can grow it.”

“If this is the mood in October, we’re going to lose to Hillary Clinton.”


7:15 a.m.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says there are “no circumstances” in which he will join the 2016 race for the White House, even as he calls for an alternative candidate to front-runner Donald Trump.

Romney told NBC’s “Today” on Friday that he sees “no reasonable scenario” to run again, but added that he will not vote for Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton

“I’m not running for president and I won’t run for president,” Romney said.

The 2012 GOP nominee gave a scathing speech in Salt Lake City Thursday condemning Donald Trump as a candidate and warning that he is “a phony” who is “playing the American public for suckers.”