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 wvxu.org.

Ways to Connect

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Kimber Fender will retire at the end of June after 19 years as director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

She has been with the library since 1988, when she began as a librarian in the Institutions/Books by Mail department.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter, but it is bittersweet to share this news,'' Fender said in a press release from the library. "I have dedicated the majority of my life to the library and it has been an incredible 30 years. I am so proud of our accomplishments as an organization."

john glenn howard wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

I don't hesitate to tell you that of all the countless political figures I have written about since the mid-1970s, my favorite, by far, is John H. Glenn Jr.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin, two women with experience in elective office, are running as a "co-chair" team to take over the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

election 2018 graphic
Jim Nolan / WVXU

Northern Kentucky voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election was abysmally low, despite the presence of some significant contests in all of the counties.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about whether Ohio Democrats have a chance this year to end a long drought in statewide elections; and about Kentucky's primary election on Tuesday. 

john mccain
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

There is probably no national political figure I have spent more "face time" with over the years than Sen. John McCain.

And I am not complaining. In fact, I am grateful.

school of fish
Pixabay

This is how it usually works in a gubernatorial or U.S. Senate election in Ohio:

The candidate for governor or U.S. senator who racks up a huge margin of victory usually helps lift up the down-ticket statewide candidates of his party (and I do mean his, since neither the Republicans nor Democrats in Ohio have seen fit yet to nominate a woman for one of those offices).

kyle plush
Provided / Plush Family

A Cincinnati Police report on the death of 16-year-old Seven Hills student Kyle Plush found there were technical and personnel problems with the 911 system that prevented police from finding the young man desperate for help.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the disagreements between Ohio Gov.  John Kasich and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine over two of Kasich's signature issues - JobsOhio and Medicaid expansion. Will the differences mean Kasich doesn't help DeWine in the fall campaign? 

Official Pete Rose Baseball Card Set

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger Cincinnati Reds fan than yours truly.

Don't cry to me about their present record; that's irrelevant to my love for the team I have rooted for since I was a child, through good times and bad.

 Sara Carruthers
Provided

Contested candidate races were few and far between in southwest Ohio Tuesday, but there was a smattering of interesting matchups.

Here are a few of them:

Wikimedia Commons

Game on.

The field is set for this fall's Ohio gubernatorial race, with the Associated Press calling both the Democratic and Republican races early in the evening.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson told News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning that, while the Ohio governor's race is the big ticket item on Tuesday's primary election ballot, there are many ballot issues to draw voters to the polls. A look at where things stand less than 24 hours before the polls open in Ohio. 

george w bush inauguration
WhiteHouse.gov / Wikimedia Commons

I always enjoyed covering presidential inaugurations.

Except for the time I came within an eyelash of getting arrested at one.

Provided

Wednesday's special session of the Law and Public Safety committee session to hear the Cincinnati Police Department's investigation into the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush has been postponed for the time being.

richard cordray dennis kucinich
Wikimedia Commons

Next Tuesday's race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination between Richard Cordray and Dennis Kucinich has the potential to keep a lot of Ohio Democrats up until the wee hours next Wednesday morning.

Depending on who you talk to, it's either going to be an incredibly close race, or it will be a relatively easy win for Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general who spent the past seven years as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington.

But with one major poll suggesting that, as of mid-April, more than half of the likely Democratic primary voters were undecided, you can throw all predictions out the window.

They mean nothing.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the GOP race for the Ohio gubernatorial nomination. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have spent nearly $10 million bashing each other with TV ads. 

ohio house chambers
Ohio Statehouse Photos

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Politically Speaking" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Wednesdays beginning May 1. 

We have a primary election coming up in nine days in Ohio, and it doesn't seem to have stirred the souls of most voters.

ronald reagan jimmy carter
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Tales from the Trail" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Fridays beginning May 4.

Thursday, May 29, 1980, was a day of revelation to me as a young political reporter.

That was the day I learned that Ohio was, in fact, the center of the universe when it came to American presidential politics.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter  Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the drama over Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley's push to get rid of City Manager Harry Black; and Black's decision Saturday morning to resign before five members of city council fired him. 

Dennis Kucinich
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Politically Speaking" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Wednesdays beginning May 1. 

OK, Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, you may have your hands full explaining this to Democratic primary voters.

You've reported receiving $20,000 for a speech last year from the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees.

That would be a group which clearly is sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as it is the parent organization of the pro-Assad Syrian Solidarity Movement.

Howard Wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson

Most people who know me know that I quit smoking over three years ago, after puffing away like a house afire for decades.

I did it because I finally came to the point where I really wanted to. And, frankly, it wasn't that hard.

So, bully for me.

reds bryan price
Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price Thursday morning after the club got off to a historically bad start of three wins and 15 losses this year.

barbara bush
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note, updated April 17, 8:03 p.m.: In light of the news that Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92, WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson reflects on a time he met the former first lady. 

When you meet someone in politics who really cares about something, you take notice.

Not just the surface "caring" of political rhetoric written by a campaign speechwriter and delivered in fake sincerity, but someone who cares about certain things deeply, passionately and with every fiber of his or her being. 

Former first lady Barbara Bush is one of those rare people in politics. 

WVXU-FM

Former congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich picked up a major endorsement Sunday from the Plain Dealer newspaper and cleveland.com. Kucinich has some establishment Democrats worried he might win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. They think former Attorney General Richard Cordray would be a stronger candidate against Mike DeWine, the likely Republican candidate for governor. 

Here's a truism in politics:

More often than not, one politician's ugly mess is another politician's dream come true.

Same goes for political parties. One political party spirals down the drain in scandal and another political party rises to the top. (See: "Watergate;" "Resignation;" "Richard Nixon.")

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Last June, you might have read a short story about it in the local newspaper, heard a snippet on the radio, or vaguely recognized a face that flashed on a TV screen.

todd portune cancer
Ann Thompson / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will have his left leg amputated to rid his body of cancer.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

Early voting kicked off for the May 8 primary elections Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana.

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