Howard Wilkinson

There must be a lot of Democratic Party leaders around Ohio scratching their heads lately.

Why, they must be asking themselves, is P.G. Sittenfeld, the 30-year-old Cincinnati councilman who announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate some time ago, still in the race?

It’s been almost two weeks now since the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee threw its support behind former governor Ted Strickland for the 2016 U.S. Senate nomination.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the fall-out from Sen. Rob Portman joining 46 other GOP senators in signing a letter to the government of Iran.

It’s hard to say for certain at this point, but Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, may have given the Democrats who want to take his job away from him in next year’s election a campaign issue.

Portman was one of 47 Republican senators who signed a letter last week to the leadership of Iran warning them that if they reach an agreement with the Obama administration on nuclear weapons, the next president and Congress could undo it.

Seven GOP senators did not sign the letter.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

Secretary of State Jon Husted has said several times that voter fraud is rare but it exists – and that’s why he says he reviews the voting rolls in Ohio’s 88 counties.

Husted has found hundreds who shouldn’t be registered to vote, and wants the federal government to help him find more.

Some of them are in southwest Ohio.

Husted’s latest review found 145 non-citizens registered to vote, with 27 of them actually casting ballots. This brings the total number of non-citizens registered in Ohio to 436, out of about 7.7 million registered voters.

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s bid for the U.S. Senate got a huge boost Tuesday morning when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) endorsed his candidacy.

The DSCC is capable of raising millions of dollars for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

Its endorsement of Strickland is a blow to the campaign of Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld, who is the only other announced Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Rob Portman.

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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