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. 

  Last Monday, at the beginning of what turned out to be a not-so-hot week for Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, he said something at the opening of his New Hampshire presidential campaign headquarters that was very revealing; and very frank.

“We’ve got about 128 days to go until the New Hampshire primary,’’ the Boston Globe reported Kasich as saying. “We do well here; we’re moving on. We do terrible here; it’s over. No confusion about that. This is very, very important to us.”

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A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday morning shows a majority of Ohio voters support legalizing the personal use of marijuana, but nearly two-thirds said they would “definitely not” use it if legalized.

And the same poll showed that in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Ohio, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, former governor Ted Strickland, leads incumbent Republican Rob Portman by three percentage points.

The overall voter turnout rate in the presidential election of 2012 was about 58%, with the rate among young voters, those ages 18 to 29, just 45%. Even in hotly-contested presidential elections, why don’'t more eligible U.S. voters go to the polls, and how can more young people be encouraged to get engaged and vote? A day-long symposium, “I Count Because I Vote,” will be held tomorrow at Northern Kentucky University to explore the issues that impact voting, in America, and in our region.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has identified a dozen voter registration forms filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana that may be fraudulent.

And, election officials say, they are examining hundreds more filed by The Strategy Network, a company headed by Ian James, who is also running ResponsibleOhio, the campaign for Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana.

Howard Wilkinson

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, didn’t bring up the subject of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination when he spoke to the Florence Rotary Club Monday, but he had plenty to say about it to reporters afterwards.

Paul, who is mired in the single digits in national polls, took a back-handed swipe at the Republican candidate who is leading most national polls, business mogul Donald Trump – and he did it without mentioning him by name.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the important role Hamilton County is likely to play in the presidential race next year; and how it will impact local races. 

In 2012, Time Magazine did a story based on an interesting premise: that five counties in Ohio – the ultimate swing state, the bellwether of the nation – could decide the presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Yes, Hamilton County was one of them - perhaps the most important of them.

The others were Cuyahoga, Franklin, Stark and Montgomery.

Obama won them; won Ohio; and won a second term in the White House.

Butler County Sheriff's Office

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, a Republican, took himself out of the running Friday for House Speaker John Boehner’s soon-to-be vacant House seat.

Jones, who has built a national reputation as a crusader against illegal immigration, put out a written statement Friday morning saying that he has “been fortunate enough to receive an enormous amount of support from citizens in and around Butler County.”


Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds has filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission for a possible run for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by House Speaker John Boehner

But Reynolds told WVXU he has yet to make up his mind about whether or not he will run.

Ohio Senate

State Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City has become the latest Republican to announce his candidacy for the soon-to-be-vacant 8th Congressional District seat of House Speaker John Boehner, who announced his resignation last week.

Beagle, who has represented Ohio’s 5th  Senate District since 2011, is the second Republican to formally announce he’s running. J.D. Winteregg, a part-time French teacher who works at a grain elevator in Troy, ran against Boehner in last year’s primary and has pulled petitions to run in the special election to replace him.