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.

So, how about the Tristate’s two potential Republican presidential candidates, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ohio governor John Kasich? What kind of week did -they have, you ask?

Well, not so great. At least as it relates to whatever presidential ambitions they have.

Kasich was the victim of polls in key states that show pretty clearly that, as a potential candidate, he ranks at or near the bottom of the list among GOP voters in some important battleground states; and doesn’t exactly set the world on fire among Ohio Republican voters either.

Andy Chow

An independent poll released this morning shows that while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the slight favorite for the Republican presidential nomination among Ohio GOP voters, he barely registers with Republicans in other key states.

There are some Northern Kentucky leaders – those who oppose tolls to pay for a replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge - who are saying that Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, is no longer welcome in their part of the state.

And they don’t seem to care which bridge he crosses to get there.

It seems that Ohio’s Republican governor, who is not the shy and retiring type when it comes to speaking his mind, left some noses out of joint Wednesday when he hooked up with Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, at Covington’s RiverCenter.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld's bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2016. Does Sittenfeld have a chance win the nomination and unseat GOP incumbent Rob Portman?

To almost no one’s surprise, Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld announced this week that he is running for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, with the hopes of knocking off incumbent Republican Rob Portman in November 2016.

Sittenfeld is an ambitious young man; and, especially in politics, there is nothing wrong with that. He had been dropping hints that he was considering jumping into the Senate race for weeks; and people on both sides of the aisle were taking him seriously.

U.S. Congress

An icon of Kentucky politics, former governor and U.S. Senator Wendell Ford, has died at the age of 90 at his Owensboro home.

Ford, whose political career in Kentucky spanned four decades, was diagnosed last year with a malignancy on one of his lungs and had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

The Owensboro Democrat represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the U.S. Senate for a quarter of a century, from 1974 until 1999.

Some Ohio members of the House and Senate will have their own guests in the House gallery tonight when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

And they weren’t chosen at random.

Both House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester and Ohio’s senior senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, have invited guests who are there to make a point on public policy.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the possibility that Ohio may host both of the presidential nominating conventions next year. Cleveland has already nailed down the GOP convention; and Columbus is waiting to see if it will get the Democratic convention.

Don’t be jealous, Cincinnati, but our neighbor to the north, Columbus, may be on the verge of landing its first presidential nominating convention

And, if the Democratic National Committee decides to land its 2016 convention in Ohio’s capital city, it will mean the Buckeye State will be hosting both major party presidential nominating conventions next year. The Republicans have already chosen Cleveland, after passing over Cincinnati and a number of other cities.

Ohio’s junior senator, Republican Rob Portman, fired a shot across the bow last week – a warning shot for anyone thinking about running against him in 2016.

His campaign committee put out a long statement saying that, as of the end of 2014, Portman had $5.8 million in the bank for his re-election campaign – a pretty incredible amount for 23 months before the election.

And the unspoken message was that he can get plenty more where that came from.

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