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

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with Maryanne Zeleznik about three Cincinnati Democrats who could play a role in re-building the Ohio Democratic Party.

Yes, the Nov. 4 election was a complete train wreck for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, was so abysmally weak that he took only 33 percent of the vote again incumbent Republican John Kasich – the worst drubbing of a Democratic candidate for governor since an unknown state senator named Rob Burch had 25 percent of the vote against popular GOP incumbent George Voinovich in 1994.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the disaster of an election Ohio Democrats just suffered through; and how they might bounce back.

Republicans were dancing on their desks Tuesday night. Democrats’ chins were dragging on the floor. But before we shut the door on the 2014 election, here are some final thoughts on what happened Tuesday, especially here in southwest Ohio.

Thomas/Winburn:

Conventional wisdom had the 9th Ohio Senate District race between former Cincinnati council member Cecil Thomas and current council member Charlie Winburn going down to the wire.

But, in the end, Thomas crushed Winburn, knocking him flatter than a pancake with 57 percent of the vote.

WVXU politics reporter talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Tuesday's election - one which saw the Republicans sweep all of Ohio's statewide offices, as they did four years ago.

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In a battle of two of the best-known political names in the Hamilton County, Republican Ralph Winkler bested Democrat Charlie Luken in the race for the open probate court judgeship.

In the six other contested judicial races Tuesday, the Republicans won four while the Democrats won two – including one against an incumbent Republican.

With 553 of 555 precincts reporting, the unofficial vote count in the probate court judgeship was 53 percent for Winkler and 47 percent for Luken.

Sarah Ramsey

Despite being outspent by at least four-to-one, former Cincinnati council member Cecil Thomas held the 9th Ohio Senate District for the Democrats, rolling over Republican Charlie Winburn in an easy win.

With 100 percent of the unofficial vote counted, the 61-year-Democrat took 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Winburn.

Winburn spent over $300,000 since July trying to win the seat and become the only African-American Republican in the Ohio Senate Republican Caucus.

Republican Steve Pendery has won a fifth term as Campbell County’s judge executive, defeating Democratic candidate Ken Rechtin.

With 64 of the county’s 67 precincts reporting, the 60-year-old Pendery led in the unofficial vote by 13 percentage points – 58 percent to 41 percent. WCPO reported shortly before 8:30 p.m. that Rechtin called Pendery to congratulate him on the win.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about prospects for voter turnout Tuesday and the races to watch.

Ohio voters may be about to make history.

But not the kind of history you’ll want to brag about.

It looks increasing likely that, on Tuesday, Ohio will have the lowest turnout in a gubernatorial election since the Ohio secretary of state began tracking voter turnout in 1978.

And, at least in Northern Kentucky, the turnout may be pretty low too – even with one of the noisiest, most expensive and most important U.S. Senate races in the country, pitting Republican Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell against Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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