Howard Wilkinson

Political Reporter

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.

In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Wilkinson into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Wilkinson appears on  Cincinnati Edition, blogs on politics and more, and writes the weekly column Politically Speaking at wvxu.org.

Ways to Connect

roy rogers
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

People often tell me I have been lucky because I have been in a profession that has enabled me to do a lot of things that most folks will never have the chance to do.

And they're right. I am grateful for that.

sherrod brown
John Beagle / Flickr Creative Commons

Does the Ohio Republican Party have reason to be worried about November's statewide election?

Yes. Yes, they do. They can read the tea leaves and they are no fools.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about how polling and some fundraising numbers have Ohio Democrats feeling good about their chances of winning some state offices that have been under Republican control for many years. There are no guarantees, but the Democrats are cautiously optimistic. 

john mccain
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's another story that ought to convince you that John McCain is not your typical politician.

gabby giffords aftab pureval
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Democratic congressional candidate Aftab Pureval, joined by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, stood before about 125 supporters – mostly women – in a North Avondale front yard Wednesday to launch a "Women for Aftab" organization.

Courtesy Jill Schiller

Democrat Jill Schiller is out campaigning hard in Ohio's Second Congressional District, harder than anyone else has since incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup first won the seat in 2012.

ohio voter purge
AFGE / Flickr Creative Commons

In Hamilton County – and in large urban counties all over Ohio – Republicans and Democrats have been arguing about the practice of purging voter rolls ever since Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted became Ohio's chief election officer in 2011.

WVXU-FM

Saturday, WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson was at the Hamilton County Democratic Party central committee where the party made history by electing its first team of women as leaders - co-chairs Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin. McFarlin and Pillich are replacing Tim Burke, who retired about nearly a quarter of a century as party chair. Wilkinson talked with New Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about what changes may be coming to the party. 

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

In the end, it was no contest. The team of former state representative Connie Pillich and Springfield Township trustee Gwen McFarlin have been elected as the new co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

george voinovich
United States Congress

I do miss George Voinovich.

The former Cleveland mayor, two-term governor and U.S. Senator died June 12, 2016 at the age of 79, just about a month before he was to be a delegate at the Republican National Convention held in his beloved hometown of Cleveland.

Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr. / Youngstown Air Force

Many general election contests start out with TV ads that make you feel warm and fuzzy. Bluebirds chirping in the trees. The candidate, rolling around the front yard, playing with the family dog, the grandkids or both.

But not this Ohio Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Jim Renacci.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Saturday, the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will meet at a union hall in Evendale to choose a successor (or successors) to Tim Burke, who is retiring after 24 years as county party chair. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Burke's departure and what the future of the party may look like. 

plane
Pixabay

Many of my younger colleagues in journalism – which amounts to almost all my colleagues in journalism these days – have no memory of a time before smartphones, emails, Facebook, Storify, Twitter, Reddit or even the Internet.

fc cincinnati mls
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Raise your hand if you ever, for a second, believed that FC Cincinnati really wanted to put a soccer stadium in the cramped quarters of Oakley.

OK, now raise your hand if you believed in the fairytale of sticking a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium in the middle of Newport. FC Kentucky, anyone?

sherrod brown
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Senator Sherrod Brown told WVXU today he hopes President Trump's on-again, off-again summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un takes place next month.

Brown, a Democrat running for re-election this year, says he hopes his bill to levy more sanctions on North Korea if they do not cooperate will be part of the leverage Trump can use if he sits down with the North Korean leader next month in Singapore.

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Kimber Fender will retire at the end of June after 19 years as director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

She has been with the library since 1988, when she began as a librarian in the Institutions/Books by Mail department.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter, but it is bittersweet to share this news,'' Fender said in a press release from the library. "I have dedicated the majority of my life to the library and it has been an incredible 30 years. I am so proud of our accomplishments as an organization."

john glenn howard wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

I don't hesitate to tell you that of all the countless political figures I have written about since the mid-1970s, my favorite, by far, is John H. Glenn Jr.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin, two women with experience in elective office, are running as a "co-chair" team to take over the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

election 2018 graphic
Jim Nolan / WVXU

Northern Kentucky voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election was abysmally low, despite the presence of some significant contests in all of the counties.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about whether Ohio Democrats have a chance this year to end a long drought in statewide elections; and about Kentucky's primary election on Tuesday. 

john mccain
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

There is probably no national political figure I have spent more "face time" with over the years than Sen. John McCain.

And I am not complaining. In fact, I am grateful.

school of fish
Pixabay

This is how it usually works in a gubernatorial or U.S. Senate election in Ohio:

The candidate for governor or U.S. senator who racks up a huge margin of victory usually helps lift up the down-ticket statewide candidates of his party (and I do mean his, since neither the Republicans nor Democrats in Ohio have seen fit yet to nominate a woman for one of those offices).

kyle plush
Provided / Plush Family

A Cincinnati Police report on the death of 16-year-old Seven Hills student Kyle Plush found there were technical and personnel problems with the 911 system that prevented police from finding the young man desperate for help.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the disagreements between Ohio Gov.  John Kasich and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine over two of Kasich's signature issues - JobsOhio and Medicaid expansion. Will the differences mean Kasich doesn't help DeWine in the fall campaign? 

Official Pete Rose Baseball Card Set

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger Cincinnati Reds fan than yours truly.

Don't cry to me about their present record; that's irrelevant to my love for the team I have rooted for since I was a child, through good times and bad.

 Sara Carruthers
Provided

Contested candidate races were few and far between in southwest Ohio Tuesday, but there was a smattering of interesting matchups.

Here are a few of them:

Wikimedia Commons

Game on.

The field is set for this fall's Ohio gubernatorial race, with the Associated Press calling both the Democratic and Republican races early in the evening.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson told News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning that, while the Ohio governor's race is the big ticket item on Tuesday's primary election ballot, there are many ballot issues to draw voters to the polls. A look at where things stand less than 24 hours before the polls open in Ohio. 

george w bush inauguration
WhiteHouse.gov / Wikimedia Commons

I always enjoyed covering presidential inaugurations.

Except for the time I came within an eyelash of getting arrested at one.

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