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.

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Howard Wilkinson

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.

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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?

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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.

Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

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.

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

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.

She becomes the third Democrat to announce as a candidate for governor in 2018, joining former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Copley and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni of Boardman.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about former state representative Connie Pillich jumping into the Democratic race for Ohio governor; and provided an update on where things stand in the Cincinnati mayor's race. 

Apparently, it was all a merry mix-up. 

On Thursday morning, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley's campaign was adamant about its intention to skip a March 28 mayoral debate sponsored by the NAACP. 

By the end of most people's lunch hour that same day, Cranley had reversed course. His campaign released a statement that said, in effect, that, yes, absolutely, by golly, there's no way we would miss such an important event!

So what happened to change their minds? 

A little not-so-gentle poke in the eye from the NAACP, that's what. 

Michael E. Keating

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.

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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. 

Vice President Mike Pence came to a Springdale business Thursday and pledged the Trump administration will "lift the weight of Obamacare off American families and businesses."

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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.

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