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The Democratic primary for governor in Ohio could well boil down to where the candidates stand and what kind of record they have on gun control.

It's reasonable to believe  the vast majority of Democratic primary voters, in the wake of cold-blooded murder of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are enraged over the easy access to semi-automatic weapons and are solidly behind the nationwide movement of high school students marching and lobbying for gun control.

Appearing with Mayor Andrew Ginther in Columbus on Monday, Richard Cordray announced his plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor Richard Harknett warned congress last month that the U.S. remains at high risk for foreign intrusion in the upcoming midterm elections. 

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the on-going crisis at Cincinnati City Hall over whether City Manager Harry Black stays or goes. 

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Last updated Sunday, March 18 at 9:27 a.m..

For weeks, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley have been involved in a very public dispute about the city manager's future as a city employee. How did we get here? WVXU’s City Hall reporter Jay Hanselman breaks it all down with a timeline of events.

Hate to say I told you so.

But I told you so.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Some people find it hard to believe, but there was a time early in my career that I was known to the public as primarily a humor columnist.

It's true. From 1977 to 1982, at the Troy Daily News, I had a column that ran in the Sunday magazine section called And Another Thing…Don't ask me how, but it became wildly popular in Troy; aside from the sport pages, it may have been the most read thing in the paper.

Beats me how it happened. But it made me a celebrity of sorts in that small town in western Ohio.

rebecca johnson
J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

The widow of a state lawmaker who killed himself late last year will not run in this year’s primary or general elections to fill her husband’s vacant seat.

Rebecca Johnson announced her candidacy the day after the death of her husband Rep. Dan Johnson, a pastor from Bullitt County, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in December.

So, what does it mean when the professional tea leaf readers move a congressional race from a Likely Republican status to a Leans Republican status?

Well, we are about to find out.

That's exactly what Sabato's Crystal Ball, one of the nation's leading trackers of races at the state, congressional and presidential levels, did this week with Ohio's 1st Congressional District, which has been held by Republican Steve Chabot in all but two of the past 25 years.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Having been something of a class clown growing up in Dayton, Ohio, terrorizing many an innocent grade school teacher at Cleveland Elementary School with my pranks and wise-acre behavior, I suppose it's not surprising that, as an adult, I would get my chance to be a genuine circus clown.

Complete with greasepaint, baggy pants, and dozens of skinny balloons stuffed into my oversized pockets to turn into balloon animals for the kiddies.

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WVXU Politics Reporter Howard Wilkinson talk with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about what appears to be a push by lame-duck Gov. John Kasich to keep his political career going after he leaves office at the end of the year.  He appears to be preparing to run for president again.

Part 2 of a two-part Tales from the Trail:

Sometimes, I don't believe it either.

I've had a career covering politics where I have gone to 16 presidential nominating conventions, Democratic and Republican.

More than any one human being should have to bear.

I shouldn't complain, though, even in jest. I've visited some great American cities, seen a few baseball games in some ball parks I might never have gotten to, and, from time to time, actually witnessed American history being made.

And told the story.

Provided

After the school shooting tragedy in Florida President Trump says he is willing to look at tougher gun control measures, upsetting many in his base. The Russian probe becomes more intense as another former top Trump campaign official pleads guilty to fraud and to lying to investigators. The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has his security clearance downgraded. And another Sanders is running for Congress.

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WVXU Politics Reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the odds of the Democrats winning a House seat in southwest Ohio or northern Kentucky this fall. 

The primary contests for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate on the May 8 primary ballot will get much of the attention, there are a number of contested primaries here in southwest Ohio as well.

This week, we will look at the top primary races in Hamilton County. And, in weeks to come, we will do the same with contested primaries in the region.

Here we go:  

Ohio Senate – 9th District

Four years ago, former Cincinnati council member Cecil Thomas defeated then-State Rep. Dale Mallory in a six-way Democratic primary by 556 votes.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

It's a fact; I have been to 16 presidential nominating conventions, Democratic and Republican, over the course of my career covering politics.

Some would say this cruel and unusual punishment is more than any one human being deserves.

After all, the political people only go to their own party's conventions. I go to both. Often in back-to-back weeks.

People often ask me which conventions have been the worst to cover and which have been the best.

Here in Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich has a little more than 10 months left in office, voters are starting to focus in on who will be elected this year to follow him into the governor's office.

The Republican governor was elected governor twice – once in a landslide – and remains pretty popular, with high approval rating numbers.

Yet the two Republican candidates who want to replace him – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Kasich's own lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor – seem to want to have nothing to do with him.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Usually, when you look back at a long period of time working in the same place, it is the first day on the job that you remember the most.

The nervousness. The overwhelming desire to impress. The first time you have to go to someone and ask where the restroom is.

In other words, your general dorkiness.

That first day is something to remember.

But, for me, it is the second day I worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer I remember the most.

Provided

Kenton Keith served for thirty-two years in the U.S. Information Agency and Department of State, holding senior positions in public affairs in Brazil, Paris, and Cairo. In Washington, he served as both Deputy Area Director and Area Director for the United States Information Agency's North Africa, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. He was named U.S. Ambassador to Qatar in 1992 and served in that position for three years. 

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about both the Ohio Republican Party and President Trump wading into the Ohio GOP's May 7 primary with endorsements.

Ann Thompson

President Donald Trump came to Blue Ash Monday to tout the Republican tax reform bill he signed into law; and boast that it is already paying dividends for American workers and companies.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Saturday's Northern Kentucky Legislative Conference at Highland High School in Fort Thomas. About 500 residents showed up; and many of them gave legislators an earful about Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts to K-12 and higher education. They want the legislators to go back to Frankfort and write a budget that restores the Bevin cuts. 

Game on.

Aftab Pureval versus Steve Chabot in Ohio's 1st Congressional District.

For all the marbles.

Charismatic, up-and-coming young challenger up against a wily old veteran of many an election battle, with bumps and bruises to prove it.

We could sell tickets to this one.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

One of the most memorable interviews I've done in my career was with a man who was not a politician, but was a spiritual adviser to many occupants of the White House over the years.

Billy Graham, the world's most famous TV evangelist, who has spread his Gospel message to billions on television and in person all over the world since starting his ministry by pitching tents in a Los Angeles parking lot in 1949, is now 99 years old and living in retirement in his mountaintop home near Asheville, North Carolina.

President Trump will tout the Republican tax cuts at a Blue Ash manufacturing company Monday afternoon.

Howard Wilkinson

Democrat Aftab Pureval said it best Wednesday morning when he spoke to a crowded room of supporters in Avondale: his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Steve Chabot was "the worst kept secret in Cincinnati."

After months of speculation, the 35-year-old Pureval, who pulled off a stunning upset victory over a Republican incumbent in the 2016 race for Hamilton County clerk of courts, made it official in an enthusiastic rally at Avondale's Gabriel's Place, a non-profit involved in urban agriculture.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Democrat Aftab Pureval, who burst on the local political scene in 2016 with an upset win over a Republican clerk of courts. Now, Pureval appears to be about to announce he is going to run for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Steve Chabot. Wilkinson takes a look at the pros and cons of  a Pureval candidacy. 

So, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor – who wants to be the next governor – is running away from Gov. John Kasich at the speed of light.

And the apparent front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hasn't gone out of his way to court the support of the present governor.

Kasich, for his part, responds to all of this with his usual reaction to such things – he shrugs his shoulders, moves on, and books another trip to New Hampshire for April, making it abundantly clear that, one way or another, he plans on running for president again in 2020.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

It's not often in a political reporter's career that you find yourself in a room where you actually witness the moment an American president's chances of being re-elected go up in a puff of smoke.

I was in such a room on October 28,1980, at the old Convention Center Music Hall in Cleveland, for the only head-to-head debate between Republican Ronald Reagan and Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter.

And, to this day, I believe that debate sealed Carter's fate.

Pete Rightmire/WVXU

The federal government shuts down, and then re-opens, at least for another couple of weeks. President Trump and some members of congress accuse the FBI of bias and hint there is evidence of a "secret society" within the agency. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is questioned by the special counsel’s office as the investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election continues. And President Trump is scheduled to make his first State of the Union Address next Tuesday.

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