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

Ways to Connect

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about polls showing Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman trailing former Ohio governor Ted Strickland; and what Portman is doing to catch up. 

  If Ohio’s junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman, is a man afraid of losing his job in next year’s election, he didn’t let on Saturday morning in the parking lot of a strip center in Terrace Park where his local campaign office is located.

Under gray and foreboding skies, Portman held U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s nearly two-year-old son in his arms while Wenstrup introduced him to a crowd of well over 100 people – the majority of them young people – who had come out on a Saturday morning to work phone banks and knock on doors for Portman’s re-election campaign.

Keith Lanser / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

To say the proponents of Issue 22, which would place a one mill permanent tax levy in Cincinnati’s charter, are out-spending the opposition would be the understatement of the century.

Citizens for Cincinnati Parks, the pro-Issue 22 committee, raised $647,535 through Oct. 14, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday. Just over half of the money came from corporate interests and corporations.

Save Our Parks, the committee opposed to Issue 22, raised only $3,154, according to its campaign finance report.

Howard Wilkinson

It hasn’t happened often since former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld began running against each other for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination early this year.

Monday night, the two were in the same room at the same place at the same time – a Hamilton County Democratic Party fall fundraiser at Longworth Hall.

And they might as well have been 200 miles apart.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the struggle of Cincinnati's P.G. Sittenfeld to catch up with Ted Strickland in Ohio's U.S. Senate primary. 

Sometimes, when we think about P.G. Sittenfeld and his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Ohio, an old Frank Sinatra novelty song becomes our ear-worm of the day:

Wikimedia Commons

Recent polls suggest that a majority of Ohioans back the legalization of marijuana.

But the question for Ohio voters on Nov. 3 is not whether they think marijuana should be legal. It is whether  they think Issue 3, a state constitutional amendment that would set up a large and profitable pot-producing industry owned by a handful of individuals, is the right way to do it.

Ohio House

The list of Republicans who want to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner in his 8th Congressional District seat grew to five Tuesday with the entry of State Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Township, into the race.

The former dairy farmer from Butler County, who is in his fourth and final term in the Ohio House, made his formal announcement Tuesday morning at the Voice of America Park in West Chester.

Later, Derickson told WVXU that he put a “lot of thought and a lot of prayer” into the decision to join a crowded field of GOP candidates.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the sinking poll numbers in Ohio Gov. John Kasich's Republican presidential bid; and what's in store Tuesday night at the first Democratic presidential debate. 

  Last Monday, at the beginning of what turned out to be a not-so-hot week for Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, he said something at the opening of his New Hampshire presidential campaign headquarters that was very revealing; and very frank.

“We’ve got about 128 days to go until the New Hampshire primary,’’ the Boston Globe reported Kasich as saying. “We do well here; we’re moving on. We do terrible here; it’s over. No confusion about that. This is very, very important to us.”