Howard Wilkinson

Political Reporter

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

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A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday morning shows a majority of Ohio voters support legalizing the personal use of marijuana, but nearly two-thirds said they would “definitely not” use it if legalized.

And the same poll showed that in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Ohio, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, former governor Ted Strickland, leads incumbent Republican Rob Portman by three percentage points.

Keith Lanser / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The most contentious issue on the ballot this November in Cincinnati centers around something almost everyone agrees on – that the city of Cincinnati has a very good park system.

But the proponents of Issue 22 – a charter amendment that would place a permanent one mill tax in the city charter for park improvements – believe they could be even better.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has identified a dozen voter registration forms filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana that may be fraudulent.

And, election officials say, they are examining hundreds more filed by The Strategy Network, a company headed by Ian James, who is also running ResponsibleOhio, the campaign for Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana.

Howard Wilkinson

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, didn’t bring up the subject of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination when he spoke to the Florence Rotary Club Monday, but he had plenty to say about it to reporters afterwards.

Paul, who is mired in the single digits in national polls, took a back-handed swipe at the Republican candidate who is leading most national polls, business mogul Donald Trump – and he did it without mentioning him by name.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the important role Hamilton County is likely to play in the presidential race next year; and how it will impact local races. 

In 2012, Time Magazine did a story based on an interesting premise: that five counties in Ohio – the ultimate swing state, the bellwether of the nation – could decide the presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Yes, Hamilton County was one of them - perhaps the most important of them.

The others were Cuyahoga, Franklin, Stark and Montgomery.

Obama won them; won Ohio; and won a second term in the White House.

Butler County Sheriff's Office

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, a Republican, took himself out of the running Friday for House Speaker John Boehner’s soon-to-be vacant House seat.

Jones, who has built a national reputation as a crusader against illegal immigration, put out a written statement Friday morning saying that he has “been fortunate enough to receive an enormous amount of support from citizens in and around Butler County.”


Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds has filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission for a possible run for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by House Speaker John Boehner

But Reynolds told WVXU he has yet to make up his mind about whether or not he will run.

Ohio Senate

State Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City has become the latest Republican to announce his candidacy for the soon-to-be-vacant 8th Congressional District seat of House Speaker John Boehner, who announced his resignation last week.

Beagle, who has represented Ohio’s 5th  Senate District since 2011, is the second Republican to formally announce he’s running. J.D. Winteregg, a part-time French teacher who works at a grain elevator in Troy, ran against Boehner in last year’s primary and has pulled petitions to run in the special election to replace him.

Gary Lee campaign Facebook page

Gary Lee, a former Cincinnati Police Department captain, announced Monday he will run as a Republican for Hamilton County Sheriff in 2016.

But Lee may have competition for the GOP nomination. Retired assistant Cincinnati police chief Vince Demasi told WVXU Tuesday that he is "very seriously" considering leaving his present job as Mt. Healthy's police chief to run for sheriff. 

Demasi would have to give up the Mt. Healthy job in order to run; and he said that would be a key factor in his decision "because Mt. Healthy has been very good to me."