Howard Wilkinson

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the increasing likelihood that Cincinnati's David Pepper will become the new Ohio Democratic Party chairman Tuesday night.

It is looking more and more probable that when the Ohio Democratic Party’s executive committee meets Tuesday night in Columbus, it will pick Cincinnati’s David Pepper as the new state party chairman.

And Pepper – the former city council member and Hamilton County commissioner who ran and lost the race for Ohio Attorney General this year – will then have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces of a political party that was shattered in this year’s election.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Rob Portman's re-election chances and the passing of an Ohio political giant, former GOP chairman Bob Bennett.

Sen. Rob Portman threw a bucket of cold water on those who were hot to see him run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination when he announced Monday that he would be running for re-election to a second term in the Senate instead.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, has put an end to speculation that he might run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination by saying he will run for a second term in the Senate.

Portman, the 59-year-old first term senator from Terrace Park, had been mulling over the possibility of a 2016 run for the presidency for months, encouraged by political advisers and major GOP campaign contributors.

Portman told WVXU Tuesday that he is looking forward to being part of the new Republican majority in the Senate - a majority he helped create as the Senate GOP's chief fundraiser in 2014.

State Rep. Peter Beck
Ohio House of Representatives website

State Rep. Peter Beck, a Mason Republican indicted on 69 counts of fraud and theft, has resigned from the Ohio House.

Mike Dittoe, a spokesman for Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, said Beck’s resignation was turned in Sunday and put on the House record Monday.

Beck, a former Mason council member and mayor, would have been gone by the end of the month, when his present term expired.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune had a really bad experience with the Ohio Democratic Party early this year – especially with state party chairman Chris Redfern.

Last December, Portune – the only Democrat on the county commission – started crisscrossing the state in an attempt to build support to run for Ohio governor.

The problem was that Portune started too late – Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive – had been campaigning since early in 2013; and had already wrapped up the party establishment and the endorsement of the state party.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with Maryanne Zeleznik about three Cincinnati Democrats who could play a role in re-building the Ohio Democratic Party.

Yes, the Nov. 4 election was a complete train wreck for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, was so abysmally weak that he took only 33 percent of the vote again incumbent Republican John Kasich – the worst drubbing of a Democratic candidate for governor since an unknown state senator named Rob Burch had 25 percent of the vote against popular GOP incumbent George Voinovich in 1994.

Republicans were dancing on their desks Tuesday night. Democrats’ chins were dragging on the floor. But before we shut the door on the 2014 election, here are some final thoughts on what happened Tuesday, especially here in southwest Ohio.

Thomas/Winburn:

Conventional wisdom had the 9th Ohio Senate District race between former Cincinnati council member Cecil Thomas and current council member Charlie Winburn going down to the wire.

But, in the end, Thomas crushed Winburn, knocking him flatter than a pancake with 57 percent of the vote.

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