Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

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Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his political blog, his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with news director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 14 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time. 

There is hardly a significant campaign for high office that goes by without a fight over debates.

Will we have them? How many will have? Where will they be? What will the ground rules be?

And, in some cases, those questions never get answered – usually because of the intransigence of one candidate or another – and no debate ever happens.

But the 2018 gubernatorial race in Ohio will most certainly have debates.

In fact, there is one already scheduled.

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

There aren't a whole lot of perks to being a politics reporter.

Not complaining, mind you. But it's not usually very glamorous work.

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It started with a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in 1972, and ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. White House Counsel John Dean soon found himself embroiled in the Watergate scandal and eventually testified against Nixon in Congressional hearings.  Dean is in Ohio this week speaking to the Ohio State Bar Association about the lessons learned from Watergate and the parallels to the Trump White House.

City of Loveland website

Facing a recall election in November, Mark Fitzgerald resigned as Loveland's mayor at a special meeting of city council Monday night.

Once a citizens' group called Loveland Community Heartbeat, a political action committee, filed petitions last week with more than enough signatures to place the recall on the ballot, Fitzgerald had five days under Ohio election to resign or face recall in the November election.

Not to be morbid, but let's say you are an Ohioan who has passed away and is no longer with us. Should your name be removed from the voting rolls?

Yes, absolutely. This is not Chicago, after all.

Now let's say you are a registered Ohio voter and you have moved, permanently, to another state. Should your name be removed from the voting rolls in Ohio?

Yes, certainly, because you can't vote in a state where you no longer live.

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

I am a recovering smoker. A recovering heavy smoker.

I smoked day and night; and nearly everything I did during the course of a day triggered the urge to light up – getting up in the morning, having my first cup of coffee, driving to work, taking a break from writing.

Everything.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Tana Weingartner Monday about the Republicans' fundraising advantage over the Democrats in the 2018 gubernatorial race; and whether or not the field on both sides will shrink before the end of the year. 

We hope you are sitting down while reading this, because this is astounding news:

Republicans running for governor in Ohio have more money than Democrats running for governor. Way more.

Having been one of millions of little kids in this country who worshipped John H. Glenn Jr. when, as a Mercury astronaut, he became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, it still boggles my mind that as an adult, I got to know him so well.

But it never really occurred to me that, in 1988, I would be sitting on the couch with Glenn in his hotel suite at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, trading political buttons with him.

But I did.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the state of Cincinnati's mayoral contest between John Cranley and Yvette Simpson, 99 days before the election.  

That Cincinnati mayoral primary in which the incumbent, John Cranley, lost by 10 percentage points to Council Member Yvette Simpson is now in the rear-view mirror.

Immediately after it was over, Cranley and his campaign vowed to mend their ways and spend more time and effort engaging voters one-on-one and ramping up their grassroots efforts, instead of depending solely on dumping a small fortune into 30-second TV ads which, frankly, many voters tune out as background noise.

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

I cut my teeth as a young reporter on one of the toughest nuts to crack in Ohio political history – the late James A. Rhodes, four-term governor of the Buckeye State.

Provided

Senator John McCain is diagnosed with brain cancer but still travels to Washington for a health care vote, President Trump continues to publicly demean his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner testifies about meetings with Russians, and Sean Spicer is out and Anthony Scaramucci is in.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik about what the possible entry of Democrat Richard Cordray could mean to an already crowded field; and why this race to replace lame-duck governor John Kasich is already in full-swing. 

For a guy who refuses to talk about the subject, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has nearly everybody in Ohio Democratic Party politics expecting him to jump into the 2018 race for governor.

We've always thought Cordray had some extraordinary politics skills, but to create the kind of buzz we have seen in the past week while steadfastly refusing to talk about it is quite a neat trick.

It's not as if the Democrats don't already have some credible candidates for governor in the 2018.

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