Howard Wilkinson

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.

In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Wilkinson into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Wilkinson appears on  Cincinnati Edition, blogs on politics and more, and writes the weekly column Politically Speaking at wvxu.org.

"Leans Republican."

That's the category where Ohio's already-churning 2018 gubernatorial race  is placed by Sabato's Crystal Ball, a highly-respected weekly politics newsletter published by director Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

A Democratic Party screening committee tasked with recommending a slate of Cincinnati City Council candidates has come up with a list of nine it would like to see endorsed.

But the biggest surprise on the list is the absence of the name of former council member Laure Quinlivan, who has taken out petitions to run again and interviewed last week with the 17-member screening committee of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee (CDC).

On May 2, Cincinnati voters take their first step in deciding who will be the city's mayor for the next four years.

There are three candidates in the May 2 primary; and all three are Democrats – incumbent John Cranley, Council Member Yvette Simpson, and former University of Cincinnati trustee Rob Richardson.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about where things stand in Cincinnati's mayoral primary, which takes place two weeks from Tuesday. The final two weeks is when voters generally start focusing on races like this. 

Aside from the televised (and non-televised) debates, the May 2 primary for Cincinnati mayor is being waged in advertising, and lots of it.

There was a time when that meant principally broadcast TV advertising, but those days are long gone.

Now, candidates are spreading their message with strategically placed YouTube videos, and paid advertisements on social media sites.

If you are in or near Cincinnati, you have probably seen mayoral race ads – particularly for incumbent John Cranley – pop up multiple times daily.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Jay Hanselman Monday morning about the 2017 Cincinnati City Council and how it is likely to be a large field in the fall because of four-year terms and three open seats. 

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With a mayoral primary election only 23 days away, this year's Cincinnati Council election seems like something happening in a galaxy far, far away.

After all, the filing deadline for candidates for Cincinnati City Council is nearly four months from now – on August 9. Four months is an eternity in politics.

Tuesday is the first day of early voting in Ohio for the May 2 primary election.

But not everyone in southwestern Ohio will have any candidate races or ballot issues to decide in this election.

Monday, on the streets of Over-the-Rhine, at the party on the Banks, and, most importantly, in the packed stands of Great American Ball Park, thousands of memories will be made.

Memories for the young and the old – but mostly for the young. The kids who will be going to their first Opening Day and will carry with them memories that they will be able to recall to their children and grandchildren in vivid detail.

Bond Hill – No one who has been following Cincinnati's three-way race for mayor would have been surprised at Tuesday night's debate to hear the candidates wrangling and snapping at each other over the still-controversial streetcar.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the large number of Democrats coming out to run for Congress and Cincinnati City Council. Could the election of Donald Trump last fall be fueling this surge in Democrats running for office? 

There are still about 19 months before anyone in the U.S. has to vote in the mid-term Congressional elections of 2018 – a fact that would make one think that things are rather quiet on that front these days.

Except they aren't quiet.

In fact, there is a small crowd of potential Democrats gathering (and organizing) to take on three-term incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup in Ohio's Second Congressional District next year.

Does this seem odd to you? In this heavily Republican district, one that stretches from eastern Hamilton County east to Pike and Scioto counties?

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the growing number of Democratic candidates for Ohio governor; and how both the Republicans and Democrats are likely to have lively primary battles for governor in 2018 

About a month ago, David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, was more than a bit concerned.

Back then, he had no announced candidates for Ohio governor in 2018, while some rather well-known and well-funded Republicans were gearing up for a fight.

"The time to start organizing campaigns is now,'' Pepper told WVXU in February. "There is no time for exploratory committees and thinking about it. It is time to get on with it."

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's annual audit of Cincinnati finances found what he says are some major problems in how the Cincinnati Park Board handles its money.

Connie Pillich
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Former state representative Connie Pillich of Montgomery has been laying the groundwork for months and, Monday morning, she made it official – she will be a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor in 2018.

A young black man from Glendale, whose remains lay in Springfield Township's Beech Grove Cemetery, is a symbol of how the contributions of African-American soldiers in World War I were nearly forgotten.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Ohio's 2018 U.S. Senate race, which is already underway. Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown is running for re-election; and it is likely he will face the same Republican opponent he faced in 2012 - State Treasurer Josh Mandel. It could end up being the most expensive Senate race in the country. 

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about why, in early 2017, the 2018 Ohio governor's race appears to be ramping up. The main reason: It's an open seat: incumbent John Kasich can't run again. 

The Ohio Republican Party, which has done quite well in statewide elections over the past decade or so, has a nice, neat little bunch of politicians just itching to run for governor next year.

Four of them. Attorney General Mike DeWine. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, in Medina County and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who filed paperwork with Husted's office on Thursday so she can start campaigning and, most importantly, raising money.

If you had been at the Hamilton County Board of Elections at 4 p.m. Thursday – the deadline for candidates for the May 2 Cincinnati mayoral primary – you may well have heard only one sound, that of crickets chirping.

All three of the candidates for Cincinnati mayor – all Democrats – had filed their petitions and qualified for the ballot long before the Thursday deadline.

The field is set for Cincinnati's mayoral primary; and it will feature three Democratic candidates.

The candidates who will be on the May 2 primary ballot filed long before Thursday's deadline.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the possibility of the Trump administration pulling federal funds from sanctuary cities like Cincinnati; and a Butler County legislator who wants jail time for local elected officials in sanctuary cities if an undocumented illegal immigrant commits a serious crime. 

The repercussions of the city of Cincinnati declaring itself a "sanctuary city" have spread like kudzu on a Georgia highway.

We've had Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, standing at the lectern in the White House briefing room specifically singling out Cincinnati as one of those cities that could lose federal funding because of its policy toward immigrants, without distinction between those here legally or illegally.

Sen. Sherrod Brown has signed on to bipartisan legislation that would give Congress power to stop President Trump from any attempt to lift sanctions against Russia.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the upcoming primary election for Cincinnati mayor and the three declared Democratic candidates - incumbent John Cranley, council member Yvette Simpson, and labor lawyer Rob Richardson. 

So, last Monday, just as this year's Cincinnati mayor's race was starting to get interesting, Mayor John Cranley declared Cincinnati to be sanctuary city for immigrants.

So, too, did six of nine members of City Council when they voted Wednesday for Council Member Wendell Young's sanctuary city motion – a group including one Democrat, Yvette Simpson, who is running against the Democrat Cranley in the May 2 primary election.  

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel joined local Republicans Tuesday in opposing Mayor John Cranley's announcement that Cincinnati would be a sanctuary city.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley made it crystal clear Monday afternoon in a City Hall room full of people from nearly every religious and ethnic background – Cincinnati is a "sanctuary city" for immigrants.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about President Trump's claims that three to five million people voted illegally in the November 2016 election, a claim that has been refuted by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

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