Howard Wilkinson

U.S. Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Tea Party favorite, is coming to Cincinnati in May to speak at the county party’s biggest fundraising dinner of the year, but he is also helping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman raise money for his re-election campaign.

Lee has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the Hamilton County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner on May 16 at the invitation of Portman, according to county party chairman Alex Triantafilou.

“Senator Lee and Rob are good friends; and he wants to help Rob any way he can in getting re-elected,’’ Triantafilou said.

Ohio voters have 20 months before they go to the polls to vote for a U.S. Senator. But the race for incumbent Republican Rob Portman's seat is  already heating up. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the state of the race.

The last time we checked, there were two Democratic candidates who have officially jumped into the 2016 U.S. Senate race – former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld.

You wouldn’t know it by the way Republican Party leaders have been behaving lately.

So far, the vast majority of the verbal, virtual, and video bombs being lobbed by the GOP have been aimed squarely at Strickland – who, without doubt, enters the race as the best known of the two Democrats and the one with the longest record in public office.

Hamilton County Republican Party

Former State Rep. Peter Stautberg has been named by Gov. John Kasich to fill a vacancy on the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals.

Stautberg, a 50-year-old three-term Ohio House member from Anderson Township, will take the seat left open when Judge Patrick Dinkelacker decided last year to run instead for a seat on the Common Pleas bench. Dinkelacker won election to that judgeship.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the boost Rand Paul's presidential ambitions have gotten lately; and how House Speaker John Boehner failed to rally his caucus around a three-week spending plan for the Homeland Security Department.

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