Howard Wilkinson

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.

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.

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.

If you happen to be a fan of name-calling, low blows and street brawls, you couldn't help but love Ohio's Republican primary for governor.

Then again, if you do love such things, you might want to set aside some time for quiet reflection.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Look, we can sit here all day and argue about whether Robert A. Taft II – Bob Taft, as he is known, was a good or bad governor for the state of Ohio.

That's a matter of personal judgment.

We can say, without fear of contradiction, that he was the 67th governor of the state of Ohio, serving from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Another thing we can say about Bob Taft: His political party owed him an enormous debt of gratitude for agreeing to put up with the embarrassment of being former governor Jim Rhodes' running mate for lieutenant governor in 1986.

white house
Wikimedia Commons

President Trump's proposed tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products and his Twitter feud with Amazon roiled the stock market. Congress and the White House prepare for a series of confirmation hearings on Trump's Cabinet nominations. And the president announces plans to deploy the military to the U.S.-Mexico border to confront what he calls a growing threat of illegal immigrants.

The Democratic primary for governor in Ohio could well boil down to where the candidates stand and what kind of record they have on gun control.

It's reasonable to believe  the vast majority of Democratic primary voters, in the wake of cold-blooded murder of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are enraged over the easy access to semi-automatic weapons and are solidly behind the nationwide movement of high school students marching and lobbying for gun control.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

I worked for newspapers, principally the Cincinnati Enquirer, for 38 years.

And, during that time, I was sent by those newspapers to cities all over the North America dozens of times.

But only once did my editors send me to the wrong city. It's a tale worth telling.

This tale stems from a news story which was one of the most tragic I've ever had to cover – the Air Canada disaster of June 1983.

Michael E. Keating

Editor's note: This story was originally published March 25, 2014. We are re-posting it here in honor of the Reds' Opening Day on March 30, 2018, as the story is as much a fan favorite as the pastime of baseball itself. 

great american ball park
Mark Heyne / WVXU

Reds' Opening Day may now be Friday, March 30, but fans can still get their baseball fix Thursday on "Cincinnati Edition."

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the on-going crisis at Cincinnati City Hall over whether City Manager Harry Black stays or goes. 

Hate to say I told you so.

But I told you so.

So, what does it mean when the professional tea leaf readers move a congressional race from a Likely Republican status to a Leans Republican status?

Well, we are about to find out.

That's exactly what Sabato's Crystal Ball, one of the nation's leading trackers of races at the state, congressional and presidential levels, did this week with Ohio's 1st Congressional District, which has been held by Republican Steve Chabot in all but two of the past 25 years.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Having been something of a class clown growing up in Dayton, Ohio, terrorizing many an innocent grade school teacher at Cleveland Elementary School with my pranks and wise-acre behavior, I suppose it's not surprising that, as an adult, I would get my chance to be a genuine circus clown.

Complete with greasepaint, baggy pants, and dozens of skinny balloons stuffed into my oversized pockets to turn into balloon animals for the kiddies.

Part 2 of a two-part Tales from the Trail:

Sometimes, I don't believe it either.

I've had a career covering politics where I have gone to 16 presidential nominating conventions, Democratic and Republican.

More than any one human being should have to bear.

I shouldn't complain, though, even in jest. I've visited some great American cities, seen a few baseball games in some ball parks I might never have gotten to, and, from time to time, actually witnessed American history being made.

And told the story.

The primary contests for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate on the May 8 primary ballot will get much of the attention, there are a number of contested primaries here in southwest Ohio as well.

This week, we will look at the top primary races in Hamilton County. And, in weeks to come, we will do the same with contested primaries in the region.

Here we go:  

Ohio Senate – 9th District

Four years ago, former Cincinnati council member Cecil Thomas defeated then-State Rep. Dale Mallory in a six-way Democratic primary by 556 votes.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

It's a fact; I have been to 16 presidential nominating conventions, Democratic and Republican, over the course of my career covering politics.

Some would say this cruel and unusual punishment is more than any one human being deserves.

After all, the political people only go to their own party's conventions. I go to both. Often in back-to-back weeks.

People often ask me which conventions have been the worst to cover and which have been the best.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Usually, when you look back at a long period of time working in the same place, it is the first day on the job that you remember the most.

The nervousness. The overwhelming desire to impress. The first time you have to go to someone and ask where the restroom is.

In other words, your general dorkiness.

That first day is something to remember.

But, for me, it is the second day I worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer I remember the most.

Meet Howard Wilkinson

Feb 12, 2018
WVXU-FM

It’s well known that WVXU's Political Reporter Howard Wilkinson is a HUGE Red’s fan. And that he loves talking politics is just a given. But, what does he do in the off season? And, does he have a favorite food?

Ann Thompson

President Donald Trump came to Blue Ash Monday to tout the Republican tax reform bill he signed into law; and boast that it is already paying dividends for American workers and companies.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Saturday's Northern Kentucky Legislative Conference at Highland High School in Fort Thomas. About 500 residents showed up; and many of them gave legislators an earful about Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts to K-12 and higher education. They want the legislators to go back to Frankfort and write a budget that restores the Bevin cuts. 

Jim Nolan / WVXU

One of the most memorable interviews I've done in my career was with a man who was not a politician, but was a spiritual adviser to many occupants of the White House over the years.

Billy Graham, the world's most famous TV evangelist, who has spread his Gospel message to billions on television and in person all over the world since starting his ministry by pitching tents in a Los Angeles parking lot in 1949, is now 99 years old and living in retirement in his mountaintop home near Asheville, North Carolina.

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