WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik morning about the historic and unique role Ohio has played in choosing the nation's presidents. 

  Ha! We knew it all along!

Now we have the numbers to prove it! Real, live numbers – and, in politics, you’re best off not arguing with numbers.

At last we can prove what we knew intuitively all along – that there is no better state to look at than Ohio as the predictor of who the next president will be.  And it is the state where the vote in presidential elections most closely mirrors the nation’s vote as a whole.

Ohio is, in fact, the ultimate bellwether state.

Report Calls for Fewer Regulations on Schools

Jun 12, 2015

  An education think tank has issued a new paper calling on a reduction in state regulations of schools.

The Dayton-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute proposes fewer rules over who can teach a class in Ohio. It also suggest changes to the way teachers are paid. 

The report is titled “Getting out of the Way” and that’s what the school-choice advocacy group wants state regulators to do. 

The presidential candidate who isn’t a presidential candidate but will probably soon be a presidential candidate spent part of the past week in New Hampshire, the place where presidential candidacies go to either be born or die on the vine.

We’re talking John Kasich, the 69th governor of Ohio here.

The governor of a key swing state who has been racing around from one early primary or caucus state for months now, dropping big hints about wanting to be president, but always stopping short of announcing his candidacy.

The leadership of the Democratic Party, both here in Ohio and in Washington, really doesn’t know what to make of Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld.

Is this guy just dense?, they must be thinking. Doesn’t he get the picture?

Can the Republicans win the White House without winning Ohio next year?

Conventional wisdom (not to mention history, which is a better guide) says, no, they can’t. No Republican president – and we’re going back to the very first, Abraham Lincoln – has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.

In fact, the way the electoral college map skews toward Democratic presidential candidates, most political analysts see the Republican nominee coming up short of the 270 electoral votes needed to win without taking both Ohio and Florida.

The late Jim Rhodes, who managed to be elected Ohio governor four times and was about the most pragmatic politician we’ve known in over 40 years of covering politics, had a saying about Ohio voters.

Actually, he had many sayings. But this one rang true back in Rhodes’ day and till holds some power today.

Ohio voters, Rhodes would say, care the most about three things – “jobs, jobs, and jobs.”

To many Ohio workers, the debate over “free trade” and “fair trade” is very real.

There’s an old saw that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Some people are applying that to the Ohio Democratic Party executive committee’s decision a week ago to endorse former governor Ted Strickland over Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld in the 2016 Democratic primary for Republican incumbent Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat.

As Ohio House leaders put forward a budget that they say will help people out of poverty, the directors of the state’s job and family services agencies say they have some answers as to why people need public assistance.

Substance abuse problems, lack of transportation and high school diplomas are the issues that people on welfare or public assistance face.

That’s the conclusion of a survey done by a task force with the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors Association.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked this morning with Jay Hanselman about the possibility that both Ohio and Kentucky will have contenders for the GOP presidential nomination - Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky's Sen. Rand Paul.

The controversial bill that would ban abortion after the first detectable fetal heartbeat passed the Ohio House, largely on a party line vote. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the emotion was no surprise, but one revelation was.

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.

Activists offer stats and stories of effect of Ohio abortion laws

Mar 11, 2015

During the past four years, Ohio lawmakers have passed several laws restricting abortion in Ohio. But the questions about the effect those laws are having on women in the Buckeye State depends on who you ask.

If you talk to opponents of Ohio’s new restrictions on abortion, they’ll tell you those laws are forcing Ohio’s women into going out of state for abortions and care for difficult pregnancies.

It is not hard to understand why most folks in these parts might have been distracted this week from following the daily comings and goings of the nascent campaign for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat.

The election which, for the record, is still a little over 20 months away.

First there was the distraction of the record-breaking cold and its running mate, record-breaking snow.

The group that’s behind a proposed marijuana legalization amendment has released more details about its plan; and it includes growing facilities in Hamilton, Clermont and Butler counties.

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 and over and for medical use with permission of a doctor.

Backers of the plan wold have to gather the valid signatures of about 306,000 Ohio voters by the beginning of July to place the issue on the November ballot.