Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

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. 

  Most of the race between Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin, has been mean as a rattlesnake, and just as venomous, with attack ads and mail pieces clogging the airwaves and the mailboxes of the Commonwealth.

But the end of a debate on Kentucky Educational Television Monday night – the last before the election between Bevin and Conway ended on an almost conciliatory note.

Kentucky voters head to the polls next Tuesday to choose the commonwealth'’s next governor: businessman and Republican Matt Bevin, or Democrat and current Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about polls showing Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman trailing former Ohio governor Ted Strickland; and what Portman is doing to catch up. 

  If Ohio’s junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman, is a man afraid of losing his job in next year’s election, he didn’t let on Saturday morning in the parking lot of a strip center in Terrace Park where his local campaign office is located.

Under gray and foreboding skies, Portman held U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s nearly two-year-old son in his arms while Wenstrup introduced him to a crowd of well over 100 people – the majority of them young people – who had come out on a Saturday morning to work phone banks and knock on doors for Portman’s re-election campaign.

Keith Lanser / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

To say the proponents of Issue 22, which would place a one mill permanent tax levy in Cincinnati’s charter, are out-spending the opposition would be the understatement of the century.

Citizens for Cincinnati Parks, the pro-Issue 22 committee, raised $647,535 through Oct. 14, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday. Just over half of the money came from corporate interests and corporations.

Save Our Parks, the committee opposed to Issue 22, raised only $3,154, according to its campaign finance report.

Howard Wilkinson

It hasn’t happened often since former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld began running against each other for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination early this year.

Monday night, the two were in the same room at the same place at the same time – a Hamilton County Democratic Party fall fundraiser at Longworth Hall.

And they might as well have been 200 miles apart.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the struggle of Cincinnati's P.G. Sittenfeld to catch up with Ted Strickland in Ohio's U.S. Senate primary. 

Sometimes, when we think about P.G. Sittenfeld and his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Ohio, an old Frank Sinatra novelty song becomes our ear-worm of the day:

Wikimedia Commons

Recent polls suggest that a majority of Ohioans back the legalization of marijuana.

But the question for Ohio voters on Nov. 3 is not whether they think marijuana should be legal. It is whether  they think Issue 3, a state constitutional amendment that would set up a large and profitable pot-producing industry owned by a handful of individuals, is the right way to do it.


During this program, anti-Issue 22 advocate Donald J. Mooney Jr. was critical of the Cincinnati Park Board for taking a $200,000 donation from the private Meyer Fund and giving it to Great Parks, Great Neighborhoods Inc., a committee that is campaigning to pass the charter amendment. Mooney questioned the legality of giving the money to Great Parks, Great Neighborhoods. Attorney Tim Burke, a supporter of Issue 22 and a former park board member, argued that it was perfectly legal and that no public funds were given to the pro-Issue 22 campaign.