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

Kathleen Sebelius, the Cincinnati native who Secretary of Health and Human Services, came to the Ohio delegation breakfast in Charlotte Tuesday morning telling her fellow Ohioans that they "are the key to this election."

Sebelius, a former Kansas governor who is the daughter of former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan, took up the question that Mitt Romney's campaign has been asking in campaign stops since the GOP convention last week - are you better off now than you were four years  ago?

"Are you better off?,'' Sebelius said. "You bet you are."

Cincinnati firefighter Doug Stern, who appeared in TV commercials last year urging voters to repeal Senate Bill 5, will speak at the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte tonight.

Stern, a member of Cincinnati Firefighters Local 48, will speak briefly sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. tonight.

His subject, no doubt, will be Senate Bill 5, the Republican-backed legislation which would have limited the collective bargaining powers of public employees such as police, firefighters and teachers.

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland said he won't mention the man who beat him for re-election, Gov. John Kasich, by name in his speech tonight to the Democratic National Convention, but told WVXU he will "straighten out the falsehoods" he says the GOP governor uttered.

"I'm not going to talk about Kasich,'' Strickland told WVXU in an interview late Monday afternoon in the lobby of the Hilton at University Place hotel, one of two hotels the Ohio delegation is using in Charlotte. "All Kasich did was talk about himself."

Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, the Democrats fired from the Montgomery County Board of Elections for  defying Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's order on early voting hours, were treated as conquering heroes by the Ohio Democratic delegates in Charlotte Monday morning.

At Monday morning's Ohio delegation breakfast, delegates gave Lieberman and Ritchie a standing ovation as they took the stage at the Oasis Shriners Lodge.

"I'm not a hero,'' said Lieberman, saying that his father, a combat military veteran was the true hero. "I just stood up for people's right to vote."

Ohio delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte were treated to a replay of Clint Eastwood's imaginary conversation with President Obama in a empty chair that took place at the Republican convention in Tampa - this time with Eastwood in the empty chair.

Ohio delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte were treated to a replay of Clint Eastwood's imaginary conversation with President Obama in a empty chair that took place at the Republican convention in Tampa - this time with Eastwood in the empty chair.

State Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Bond Hill, showed up in Charlotte Monday morning in time for the Ohio delegation breakfast, proud to be attending for the first time as an elected delegate.

Tomorrow night, when First Lady Michelle Obama makes her speech to the Democratic National Convention at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena, she can look to her left and see the Ohio delegation sitting close by the stage.

Placement of state delegations on the floor of the convention is usually an indication of the state's importance in the upcoming election - and Ohio is a very important battleground state.

So, they have a prime spot, just to the left of the speakers' podium in the arena that usually houses the Charlotte Bobcats, an NBA team.  

The 225 delegates and alternates from Ohio are staying in two different hotels in Charlotte, nearby to one another on the north side of town.

About half are in the Hilton University Plaza hotel and the rest are in the Drury Inn, just a block or so away.

Shortly before 5 p.m., several busloads of delegates and guests, most of northeast and northwest Ohio, rolled into the Drury Inn parking lot after the long ride to Charlotte.

Paul Whalen of Fort Thomas and his wife Teena were among 22 Kentucky delegates, guests and spouses who piled into a bus in Frankfort early Sunday morning for the long drive to Charlotte, site of the Democratic National Convention.

Whalen, who chairs the Campbell County Democratic Party, didn't seem to mind.

"Meeting a lot of nice people from around Kentucky as well as learning more about the Commonwealth,'' Whalen e-mailed from the bus.

The mood among Tristate delegates on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum Thursday night, as Mitt Romney delivered his reception speech, may have best been summed up in a tweet.

"An honor to be so close to this historic moment,'' Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou tweeted as Romney took the stage Thursday.

Accompanying his tweet was a photo Triantafilou took of Romney at the podium, from Ohio's up-front position on the convention floor, just in front of the podium.

When Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a veteran of about 40 years of politics, thinks about the upcoming battle for the presidency, it reminds him of 1980, when incumbent President Jimmy Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan.

"I liken Obama-Romney to that,'' DeWine told WVXU Thursday. "People then didn't much like Carter, but they didn't really know Ronald Reagan - they knew he had been governor of California, was in the movies. But they didn't know that much about him."

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will make Cincinnati one of his first campaign stops after the Republican National Convention ends in Tampa tonight.

Romney is expected to hold an event Saturday at the Museum Center at Union Terminal.

The Romney/Ryan campaign said doors will open at the Museum Center at 8 a.m. Saturday and that the event will  be at 10 a.m.

Beginning Thursday night, people wishing to attend can RSVP at

On Sunday, President Obama will return to Ohio for a campaign event in Toledo.

Mary Ann Christie, the former mayor of Madeira and an alternate delegate, found tears rolling down her face as she listened to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice speak to the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"I was touched by her telling her personal story, the story of her life,'' said Christie.

91.7 WVXU's political reporter, Howard Wilkinson will be conducting a live, online chat from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida beginning at Noon EDT on Thursday August 30, 2012.

To take part in the live chat, click here: