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Here in Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich has a little more than 10 months left in office, voters are starting to focus in on who will be elected this year to follow him into the governor's office.

The Republican governor was elected governor twice – once in a landslide – and remains pretty popular, with high approval rating numbers.

Yet the two Republican candidates who want to replace him – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Kasich's own lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor – seem to want to have nothing to do with him.

Usually, when you look back at a long period of time working in the same place, it is the first day on the job that you remember the most.

The nervousness. The overwhelming desire to impress. The first time you have to go to someone and ask where the restroom is.

In other words, your general dorkiness.

That first day is something to remember.

But, for me, it is the second day I worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer I remember the most.

Provided

Kenton Keith served for thirty-two years in the U.S. Information Agency and Department of State, holding senior positions in public affairs in Brazil, Paris, and Cairo. In Washington, he served as both Deputy Area Director and Area Director for the United States Information Agency's North Africa, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. He was named U.S. Ambassador to Qatar in 1992 and served in that position for three years. 

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about both the Ohio Republican Party and President Trump wading into the Ohio GOP's May 7 primary with endorsements.

Ann Thompson

President Donald Trump came to Blue Ash Monday to tout the Republican tax reform bill he signed into law; and boast that it is already paying dividends for American workers and companies.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Saturday's Northern Kentucky Legislative Conference at Highland High School in Fort Thomas. About 500 residents showed up; and many of them gave legislators an earful about Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts to K-12 and higher education. They want the legislators to go back to Frankfort and write a budget that restores the Bevin cuts. 

Game on.

Aftab Pureval versus Steve Chabot in Ohio's 1st Congressional District.

For all the marbles.

Charismatic, up-and-coming young challenger up against a wily old veteran of many an election battle, with bumps and bruises to prove it.

We could sell tickets to this one.

One of the most memorable interviews I've done in my career was with a man who was not a politician, but was a spiritual adviser to many occupants of the White House over the years.

Billy Graham, the world's most famous TV evangelist, who has spread his Gospel message to billions on television and in person all over the world since starting his ministry by pitching tents in a Los Angeles parking lot in 1949, is now 99 years old and living in retirement in his mountaintop home near Asheville, North Carolina.

President Trump will tout the Republican tax cuts at a Blue Ash manufacturing company Monday afternoon.

Howard Wilkinson

Democrat Aftab Pureval said it best Wednesday morning when he spoke to a crowded room of supporters in Avondale: his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Steve Chabot was "the worst kept secret in Cincinnati."

After months of speculation, the 35-year-old Pureval, who pulled off a stunning upset victory over a Republican incumbent in the 2016 race for Hamilton County clerk of courts, made it official in an enthusiastic rally at Avondale's Gabriel's Place, a non-profit involved in urban agriculture.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Democrat Aftab Pureval, who burst on the local political scene in 2016 with an upset win over a Republican clerk of courts. Now, Pureval appears to be about to announce he is going to run for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Steve Chabot. Wilkinson takes a look at the pros and cons of  a Pureval candidacy. 

So, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor – who wants to be the next governor – is running away from Gov. John Kasich at the speed of light.

And the apparent front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hasn't gone out of his way to court the support of the present governor.

Kasich, for his part, responds to all of this with his usual reaction to such things – he shrugs his shoulders, moves on, and books another trip to New Hampshire for April, making it abundantly clear that, one way or another, he plans on running for president again in 2020.

It's not often in a political reporter's career that you find yourself in a room where you actually witness the moment an American president's chances of being re-elected go up in a puff of smoke.

I was in such a room on October 28,1980, at the old Convention Center Music Hall in Cleveland, for the only head-to-head debate between Republican Ronald Reagan and Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter.

And, to this day, I believe that debate sealed Carter's fate.

Pete Rightmire/WVXU

The federal government shuts down, and then re-opens, at least for another couple of weeks. President Trump and some members of congress accuse the FBI of bias and hint there is evidence of a "secret society" within the agency. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is questioned by the special counsel’s office as the investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election continues. And President Trump is scheduled to make his first State of the Union Address next Tuesday.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about how Republican Jim Renacci's switching from the governor's race to the U.S. Senate race changes the dynamics of the GOP's plans of unseating incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown. 

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