Inside Pitch

Howard Wilkinson's political blog.

Michael Keating

Kentucky's junior senator, Rand Paul, was the narrow favorite for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in a straw poll this weekend of over 3,000 conservative activists from around the country.

CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Committee) held a three-day gathering in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.; and participants voted online for who they would like to see carry the presidential banner for the GOP in 2016.

Michael Keating

On Friday night, at the Columbus Athenaeum, the Ohio Democratic Democratic Party will hold its annual "Legacy Dinner," one of the party's largest fundraising events of the year.

"Let's celebrate our 2014 talent,'' says the announcement on the party's website, ohiodems.org.

In other words, it is a "cattle call" for potential statewide candidates.

Michael E. Keating

Ashley Judd, the actress and social activist, is planning on running for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell's Senate seat in Kentucky, according to a Huffington Post story based on sources.

Michael E. Keating

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will take a break from selling his budget plan to the state legislature Monday night when he comes to Cincinnati to be the keynote speaker at the Hamilton County Republican Party's annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner.

The dinner and program begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Junior Ballroom of the Duke Energy Convention Center downtown, with the governor making his speech a half hour later.

The Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner is one of the party's major fundraising events of the year. This year, ticket prices begin at $75 for individuals and $750 for a table of 10.

Michael Keating

A website which tracks Congressional money said that former U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt has failed to file a financial disclosure report that is required of members of Congress when they leave office.

Schmidt is one of 14 House members who left Congress in January to not file the termination report, according to the website Legistorm. The filings are supposed to come within 30 days of the member leaving office.

Photo by Michael E. Keating

Mike Moroski, the former assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School who was fired this month for saying gays should be allowed to marry, announced his candidacy for Cincinnati City Council on his personal website Wednesday.

Moroski told WVXU this morning that he had originally planned to run in 2017, but his firing from Purcell Marian by the Archodiocese of Cincinnati on Feb. 9 for writing that "gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry" on his blog, hastened his time table.

Michael E. Keating

Vanessa Y. White is foregoing a run for re-election to the Cincinnati Board of Education this year; and will run for Cincinnati City Council instead.

White, 49, put out a press release Thursday morning saying that she is "looking to make a broader impact" on the community.

Her first run for office was in 2009, when she emerged from a pack of 12 Cincinnati school board members to win one of the four seats that were open that year. It was her first run for public office; and she was the only non-incumbent elected that year.

Michael E. Keating

A liberal group, Moveon.org, is running a cable TV ad in Ohio critical of the National Rifle Association (NRA) - one that is clearly aimed at putting pressure on Ohio's junior senator, Republican Rob Portman, according to the Huffington Post.  

The ad features an Ohio resident, Jerry Thompson  - a gun owner and Moveon.org member - saying that after the NRA's "disgusting response" to the the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, "I've had enough."

photo by Michael Keating

J. Kenneth Blackwell and Jerry Springer - political polar opposites who served together on Cincinnati City Council in the 1970s - will share the stage March 12 for Beyond Civility's "Side-by-Side" discussion series.

Springer, a former councilman and mayor who went on to international fame as a TV talk show host, is a liberal Democrats. Blackwell, a former state treasurer and secretary of state who ran unsuccessfully for Ohio governor in 2006, is a conservative Republican.

For the fourth year in a row, Kentucky State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, has introduced a bill that would require those convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device which would test their breath for alcohol before allowing the engine to start.

This time, Keene is more confident his fellow legislators will go along, because of a federal law passed by Congress in 2012.

On the same day, mayoral candidate John Cranley proposed a debate soon over the issue of privatizing parking meters, his opponent, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, proposed a series of five post-primary debates - after council has acted on the parking issue.

Cranley, a former city council member, opposes the plan - which has yet to be formally introduced in Cincinnati City Council - while Qualls is a supporter.

Michael E. Keating

Actress Ashley Judd, who has been talked about as a potential opponent in 2014 for Kentucky's Sen. Mitch McConnell, is the subject of a digital attack ad put on the internet by GOP strategist Karl Rove's Super PAC, American Crossroads GPS.

The ad mocks Judd, who studied at the University of Kentucky, for being a Tennessee resident and a "Hollywood liberal," who would follow President Obama lock-step if elected.

You can watch the ad here.

Now that Democrat David Mann is a declared candidate for Cincinnati City Council, he has stepped down as co-convener of Beyond Civility, a project aimed at promoting more civil discourse and understanding among people of different political views.

Mann will be replaced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2010 by President Obama.

Black joins U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Beckwith, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, as co-convener of the organization.

David Mann - former Cincinnati City Council member, mayor, and congressman - is running again for Cincinnati City Council, 20 years after he left that legislative body.

About three dozen supporters crowded into the lobby of Mann's downtown law office Tuesday morning to hear him officially announce his candidacy.

"I am not running for mayor again; I'm not running for Congress,'' the 73-year-old Democrat said. "I'm running to be  the best city council member I can be."

Mann served on that body from 1974 to 1992, with two stints as the city's mayor - 198-1982 and 1991.

Libertarian Jim Berns has filed petitions to run for Cincinnati mayor, setting up what will be the first mayoral primary election in the city since 2005.

Democrats Roxanne Qualls, a former mayor and now vice mayor, and former council member John Cranley have not filed their petitions yet, but are actively campaigning and raising money and plan to file petitions by the June filing deadline.

Berns' entry into the race guarantees a primary election in the city of Cincinnati on Sept. 10; and it will be a costly one.

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, who has made illegal immigration an issue in most of his election campaigns, is opposed to both of the immigration reform packages proposed recently - one by President Obama and another by a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators.

Both plans lay out a "pathway to citizenship" for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S.

On his blog, Chabot laid out his reasons for opposing both the Obama and Senate plans.

State Rep. Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) filed a bill in the Kentucky General Assembly Tuesday which he says will close a loophole that grants parental and visitation rights to convicted rapists if they seek those rights.

Kentucky is one of 34 states that has no protection for rape victims who become mothers as a result of the rape, Keene said.

Keene said he found out that Kentucky had no such law last summer when he read about a Massachusetts case of a 14-year-old rape victim dealing with this issue in the courts.  

All sixteen state senators and representatives from the Northern Kentucky area are inviting citizens to a Feb. 2 meeting in Erlanger to hear what issues they want the Kentucky legislature to deal with this year.

The Northern Kentucky Legislation Caucus meeting will run from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Erlanger City Building, 505 Commonwealth Avenue.

Amy Murray - who served as an appointed Cincinnati City Council member in 2011 before losing her seat in that year's election - has become the first non-incumbent Republican to declare her council candidacy.

Murray, of Hyde Park, will kick off her campaign Wednesday with a 7 p.m. gathering at Price Hill Chili at 4920 Glenway Ave.

She first ran for council in 2009, failing to win one of the nine spots on council. But, in January 2011, after then-council member Chris Monzel became a Hamilton County commissioner, Murray was appointed to his council seat.

The Northern Kentucky Forum will hold an event Tuesday night where state legislators will talk about the legislature's 2013 agenda and citizens will get advice on how to follow legislation and contact legislators.

The forum takes place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Notre Dame Academy auditorium at 1699 Hilton Drive in Park Hills.

Democrat David Mann - a former Cincinnati mayor and congressman whose name hasn't been on the ballot since 1994 - is seriously considering a political comeback this year as a candidate for Cincinnati City Council.

"I've described myself as a recovering politician all these years; and maybe I am not,'' said Mann, with a laugh.

The 73-year-old lawyer told WVXU Wednesday that he still has "a passion for public service, which I think is a great privilege. And I think I have something to offer."

Mann said he will make a final decision "very soon."

Kentucky may have been won handily by Republican Mitt Romney in the general election, but Democrats from the Bluegrass State will be partying in Washington, D.C. Sunday to celebrate the inauguration of President Obama.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is hosting a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on K Street in Washington, with Gov. Steve Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon on hand.

Michael Keating

While Democrats in Washington are attending the inaugural balls on January 21, Cincinnati area Democrats will be holding their own celebration of President Obama's inauguration at a downtown bar.

Cincy's on Sixth, at the corner of East Sixth and Walnut streets, will be the scene of a $20-a-head "Partiers for Obama" inauguration party, beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 21 - seven hours after President Obama is sworn in for a second term on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Four southwest Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky U.S. House members voted "no" late Tuesday night on the bill to avert the nation falling over the "fiscal cliff."

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood; Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township; Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Lewis County; and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Columbus, Ind. bucked the party leadership on the bill that would raise the income tax rate for individuals making over $450,000 a year and extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed by one year.

A discussion with Democratic Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld and Cincinnati Tea Party founder Mike Wilson will be featured at the second of four events sponsored by Beyond Civility, an organization that promotes civil discourse between people on both ends of the political spectrum.

The "Side by Side" series with Sittenfeld and Wilson will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10 at Hebrew Union College's Mayerson Hall in University Heights.

Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican who has hinted at a possible run for the presidency in 2016, will be the featured speaker next month at the Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club's annual pancake breakfast.

Paul - the son of former Libertarian and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul - has been dropping broad hints about 2016, but that year is also the year when his U.S. Senate seat is up for re-election. And, under Kentucky election law, Paul would have to choose one or the other.

Ohio's 18 members of the Electoral College - all pledged to vote for President Obama and Vice President Biden - meet at noon Monday at the Statehouse in Columbus to do their duty.

Lists of 18 electors were submitted by both political parties before the election. Since Obama won Ohio on Nov. 6 with 50.7 percent of the vote, the 18 people submitted by the Democrats will take their seats in the Ohio Senate chamber Monday. 

Ohio Democrats will hunker down in Washington for next month's presidential inauguration at one of the city's most luxurious and historic hotels - the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue NW.

If you want to go along for the fun, there's a rather hefty price tag.

According to an e-mail sent out by the Ohio Democratic Party, the "Mayflower Package" costs $4,200 per person.

Members of Ohio Action Now, a coalition of pro-Obama groups and individuals, plans a Friday rally near Republican congressman Steve Chabot's downtown office to urge him to support President Obama's plans to raise taxes on Americans making over $250,000 a year.

Chabot opposes Obama's plan.

Ohio Action Now leaders say they will present a report from Innovation Ohio, one of their member groups, that they say will show flaws in the budget proposal from House Speaker John Boehner.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls - who was Cincinnati's mayor in the 1990s - will formally announce her candidacy in the 2013 mayoral race Thursday morning in Walnut Hills.

The current mayor, Mark Mallory, who is term-limited out in 2013, will accompany Qualls at a gathering at a pottery factory on Gilbert Avenue in Walnut Hills.

Mallory's 2009 campaign manager, Jens Sutmoller, will run Qualls' 2013 bid for the mayor's office.

One other candidate, also a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for mayor - former council member John Cranley.

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