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Mark Mallory is a fellow who plays his cards close to his vest.

The former mayor really hasn't been heard from much since he finished up his eight years as mayor nearly four years ago; and when he does say something publicly chooses the occasions carefully.

But now he's stepping out front again; and testing one of the age-old arguments of politics – do endorsements mean anything to voters?

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Dan Quayle.

Now, there's a name from the past you probably haven't thought about lately.

The 44th  vice president of the United States.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the Cincinnati Board of Education's task of combing through 25 applicants for the seat of school board member Chris Nelms, who died last month. All of this is taking place while there is an election on the November ballot for four seats on the school board. 

Ohioans have until the end of the day Tuesday to register to vote in the November 7 election.

Wednesday begins Ohio's period of early voting, for both absentee ballots and those who wish to vote early in person at their county boards of elections.  

"The easiest way to register is actually online,'' said Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

There's been all sorts of excitement in Cincinnati political circles this year – first, because there is a highly-contentious mayor's race between incumbent John Cranley and challenger Yvette Simpson.

Secondly, the city's politicos are wound up because there are no less than three open seats on the nine-member city council – the one held by Simpson, who can't run for both mayor and council; the one held by Republican Charlie Winburn, who is term-limited out; and the one held by Charterite Kevin Flynn, who could run but has chosen not to.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Any politician can talk. That's what they do.

Some talk better than others, but everyone one of them can talk and talk and talk.

But talk is cheap.

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Four of the seven seats on the Cincinnati Board of Education are up for re-election. One incumbent, Elisa Hoffman, chose not to run again. The race has drawn a large field of candidates – three incumbents and 10 challengers.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Rob Richardson's run for Ohio treasurer and how it is emblematic of the rise of a new generation of Ohio Democratic candidates from the Cincinnati area. 

Over the years, we have seen hundreds upon hundreds of candidates for political office who get their names on the ballot for offices big and small, and end up getting walloped on election day.

And, very often, those candidates are never heard from again. Maybe out of embarrassment at their poor showing. Maybe because they find that campaigning is too hard and not worth the effort. Or maybe just don't see any way to avoid being walloped again.

Rob Richardson, the labor lawyer and former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, is not among them.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

First Lady Barbara Bush was one of the most popular presidential spouses of my lifetime.

She was also one of the most politically savvy First Ladies we've had.

I found that out in early October 1992 in, of all places, a chili parlor in downtown Cincinnati.

She was here for the day campaigning for her husband, President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Her husband was locked in a brutal and ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign.

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North Korea's Foreign Minister says President Trump's tweets serve as a declaration of war, giving North Korea the right to shoot down U.S. jets, even in international airspace. The special counsel is looking into the flow of money with ties to Russia into Trump political funds. 

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WVXU politics writer Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the origin of his off-beat politics column, Tales from the Trail, and where it is going from here. You can find Tales from the Trail here.

The Jerry Springer show continues.

No, not the syndicated slime-fest of a TV show that is now in its 27th season, dealing with important topics such as Mark, The Guy Who Married A Horse; David, The Kung Fu Hillbilly; Heidi, The Adult Baby; and many more far too salacious to name here.

As Springer himself says, when he is out and about and talking politics, "my show is stupid."

Jim Nolan / WVXU

One drawback to covering politics for a living is that you end up riding on a lot of campaign buses.

I've been a passenger on hundreds of them – some very fancy, others very plain. Some were reasonably comfortable; others were hot and sweaty and gave one the distinct impression mechanical failure was imminent and you might have to find an alternate mode of transportation.

But there was only campaign bus I rode on that was pulled over by the Ohio Highway Patrol for speeding.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about how, with seven weeks left until Election Day, the candidates for Cincinnati mayor are ramping up their efforts and their rhetoric. 

We've sort of become accustomed to candidates meeting in debates and spending as much time ripping into each other as they do talking about their own ideas.

This was not the case last Tuesday night, when the four Democrats running for Ohio governor met on a high school auditorium stage last Tuesday night in Martins Ferry, an Ohio River town in Belmont County.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

Every presidential administration has its own way of getting its message out to the American people.

That's something we expect. Something we didn't expect was presidential communication via Twitter.

But that's another story for another day.

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Cincinnati's mayoral candidates, incumbent John Cranley and challenger Yvette Simpson, spent an hour in a roomful of business leaders Tuesday taking rather low-keyed swipes at each other.

Their differences were over such issues as regional transportation, the streetcar, the Children's Hospital Medical Center expansion and development issues.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the debate among the four announced Democratic candidates for Ohio governor Tuesday night; and how the possible entry of Richard Cordray and/or Jerry Springer might upset the apple cart. 

Nothing is ever certain in politics – we found that out in a bigly way in last year's presidential election – but it is highly likely that the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Ohio will be rematch of 2012.

We eschew betting in general – especially on baseball – but we would bet a dollar to a donut that, as in 2012, incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown will be facing Republican challenger Josh Mandel, the state treasurer.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

Charles P. Taft II – better known to generations of Cincinnati voters as "Charlie" – is a Cincinnati politician I never knew; he passed away in 1983, the year after I arrived in Cincinnati as an Enquirer reporter. I was one of two Enquirer reporters assigned to write his obituary. 

If you live on Cincinnati's East Side, you might wonder why some of your fellow Cincinnatians on the West Side feel they need their own political action committee to influence this year's mayoral and city council races.

But they do feel the need; and what they have is POWR PAC (Partnership of Westside Residents), which has come back after an eight-year absence and is still headed by Pete Witte, the Price Hill community activist and small business owner.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

For Ohio Gov. John J. Gilligan, the Cincinnati Democrat, 1974 was supposed to be a very good year.

He was a candidate for re-election to a second term as governor, facing the former Republican governor James A. Rhodes.

Pete Rightmire/WVXU

Congress returns from its August recess next Tuesday. Lawmakers will debate raising the debt ceiling. They also need to pass a funding bill by September 30 to avoid a government shutdown. And they may have to take up a funding bill to provide billions in relief aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey. President Trump traveled to Texas to view the storm's destruction Tuesday and plans to return again this week.

Cincinnati voters will choose from among 23 candidates for nine seats on Cincinnati City Council in the November election.

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WVXU politics  reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the upcoming Cincinnati City Council election, which rivals the mayor's race in importance. There are three open seats and a strong field of challengers competing for those three seats and possibly more. 

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

This is about the time I didn't interview Bob Dole.

Sounds like a rather odd thing to write about, but stick with me; there's a pretty good story behind it.

It was the early fall of 1996. Dole, a Kansas senator,  had just stepped down as majority leader to campaign full-time for president.

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Starting in the 1960s, South Korea began its transformation into an industrial powerhouse with a highly skilled workforce. Its population more than doubled between the time the Korean War ended in 1953 and the start of the 21st century. Today this country of 51 million people is thriving, despite decades of tension with North Korea. 

There is hardly a significant campaign for high office that goes by without a fight over debates.

Will we have them? How many will have? Where will they be? What will the ground rules be?

And, in some cases, those questions never get answered – usually because of the intransigence of one candidate or another – and no debate ever happens.

But the 2018 gubernatorial race in Ohio will most certainly have debates.

In fact, there is one already scheduled.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

There aren't a whole lot of perks to being a politics reporter.

Not complaining, mind you. But it's not usually very glamorous work.

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