Howard Wilkinson

Provided

With less than two months left before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, the Republican presidential candidates met Tuesday night for their last debate of 2015. And the Democrats will hold their last debate of the year this Saturday.

There was some drama and outright odd situations in Wednesday’s candidate filing deadline for the March 15 primary.

Candidates had until 4 p.m. to get their petitions in to county boards of elections in Ohio. There were some interesting situations in the four southwest Ohio counties – Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont.

Elections can be messy things.

And, by elections, we don’t mean campaigns – those are worse than messy; they are legalized madness. What we mean is the actual organizing of an election,  the running of polling places and the process of counting the votes.

Local boards of elections, for the most part, do a superb job of pulling them off.

But we have been covering politics and elections for over 40 years; and can’t remember a single one where something didn’t go wrong on Election Day – either by human error or technology failure or both.

Peace Corps

Former congressman Steve Driehaus of Price Hill, who has spent the past four years with the Peace Corps in Swaziland, is moving to Morocco to head the agency's efforts there.

Driehaus made the announcement Friday on his Facebook page.

After four years of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Swaziland in southern Africa, Driehaus says he, his wife and children will move to Rabat, the Moroccan capital on the north coast of the African continent.

naacp.org

The Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP has a new president. Bob Richardson, Sr. was the only name on the ballot in last week’s election, which had been postponed for more than a year due to legal disputes. The chapter has been largely inactive and criticized by its members for not taking more of a role in local issues. 

 There are no less than 13 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination who would like to see a big hole poked in the balloon of front-runner Donald Trump and see him shrivel up and go away.

But there seems to be only one of them doing anything about it – the only one willing to bell the cat.

And that one is Ohio’s governor, John Kasich.

The recounts of the Nov. 3 election are over in southwestern Ohio counties; and two races – Arlington Heights mayor and a seat on Franklin city council – were decided by only one vote.

There were nine recounts altogether in Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties. Clermont County had no races close enough for a recount.

Warren County:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter, convicted of a felony last year and facing a criminal trial in January, has taken out petitions to run as a Democrat for her now-vacant seat on the Hamilton County juvenile court bench.

She will not be an official candidate until she files the petitions by the Dec. 16 deadline and has her petitions certified by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

  WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the possibility of a divisive Republican primary for Hamilton County commissioner, with two Cincinnati council members, Charlie Winburn and Christopher Smitherman, looking like they will get into the race. 

Politics is a funny business.

Two people can be pals and political allies, and then, after the next sunrise, became political rivals, eyeing each other warily and ready to slug it out before the voters if necessary.

It happened this past week.

The allies-turned-combatants: Two Cincinnati city council members, Republican Charlie Winburn and independent Christopher Smitherman, both of whom pulled petitions Tuesday to run in the March 15 GOP primary for Hamilton County Commissioner.

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