Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

Credit Michael Keating

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.

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.

Ohio is a quadrennial battleground in presidential elections; and Kentucky – well, Kentucky is not, but they do love their politics in the Commonwealth. Though not as much as they love their basketball.

But the two states separated by the muddy river may both do something they don’t do very often, at least not in the past century: produce bona fide presidential candidates.

They are, of course, the junior U.S. senator from Bowling Green, Ky., Rand Paul; and the native Pennsylvanian-turned-Buckeye who was re-elected governor last fall in a cakewalk, John Kasich.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik about  what is at stake in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Ohio.

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.

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