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.

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There are signs that the early voting which begins in Ohio Tuesday is going to be even bigger this year than it was in the last presidential election four years ago.

Registered voters in Ohio will be able to vote in person at their county boards of elections beginning Tuesday morning, but many more are expected to vote absentee by mail.

As of Thursday, the Hamilton County Board of Elections had already received absentee ballot applications from 61,263 voters.

“They’ve been pouring in,’’ said Amy Searcy, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

A new poll shows President Obama holding large leads over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in three key battleground states - Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released Wednesday has Obama up by 10 percentage points in Ohio - 53 percent to 43 percent for Romney.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, locked in a tough race for re-election, will rally with union workers and Democratic supporters Wednesday afternoon to draw attention to his role in the 2009 auto industry bailout, which he says saved 850,00 Ohio jobs.

The rally is at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union hall at 1100 Crawford St. in Middletown.

Brown's campaign chose Middletown for the rally because AK Steel, located in that Butler County city, produces some of the steel for the Chevy Cruze, an Ohio-built auto.

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A majority of Cincinnati City Council voted Monday to shift $29 million in city funds to the $110 million streetcar project – including $15 million that neighborhood leaders believed was going to go to improvements in their neighborhoods.


City administrators told council members that the money would allow the city to go ahead with relocation of utility lines and pipes along the streetcar route through downtown and Over-the-Rhine, while the city continues to try to resolve a dispute with Duke Energy over who should pay for that.

First Lady Michelle Obama plans a campaign event in Cincinnati on Oct. 2, the first day of early voting in Ohio; and campaign aides say that is no coincidence.

The First Lady can be expected to try to gin up a large turnout of Democratic voters for the first day of the 35-day period where Ohio voters can vote by absentee ballot or in person at their county boards of elections.

No details on Mrs. Obama's Cincinnati visit have been released yet.

First Lady Michelle Obama plans a campaign event in Cincinnati on Oct. 2, the first day of early voting in Ohio; and campaign aides say that is no coincidence.

The First Lady can be expected to try to gin up a large turnout of Democratic voters for the first day of the 35-day period where Ohio voters can vote by absentee ballot or in person at their county boards of elections.

No details on Mrs. Obama's Cincinnati visit have been released yet.

First Lady Michelle Obama plans a campaign event in Cincinnati on Oct. 2, the first day of early voting in Ohio; and campaign aides say that is no coincidence.

The First Lady can be expected to try to gin up a large turnout of Democratic voters for the first day of the 35-day period where Ohio voters can vote by absentee ballot or in person at their county boards of elections.

No details on Mrs. Obama's Cincinnati visit have been released yet.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won’t be with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan Tuesday for the Cincinnati leg of their three-day bus tour of Ohio.


A spokesman for the campaign said Romney will join Ryan later in the day in Dayton.


According to the campaign website, Ryan will hold a rally at Byer Steel Group, 200 W. North Bend Rd., Carthage, late Tuesday morning. Details on RSVPs for the event are expected to be released Sunday.

Some say the fate of the nation may hang in the balance when voters in Hamilton County, Ohio, go to the polls to cast their ballots in the presidential election.

A swing county in a swing state; a county that Barack Obama won four years ago, in a state that Mitt Romney needs to wrest back from Obama, who won Ohio with 51.5 percent of the vote in 2008.

“Fate of the nation” is one thing. A pretty big thing, actually.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, will launch a three-day bus tour of Ohio Monday that includes a Tuesday event in Cincinnati.

The Romney-Ryan campaign has yet to announce details on the Cincinnati event - or any of the other stops on the tour.

It begins Monday in Lima.

Tuesday will include stops in Cincinnati and Dayton; and, on Wednesday, the GOP ticket will move on to events in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.

Tuesday night at Chicago's Wrigley Field, Reds right-hander Homer Bailey threw 7.1 innings of one run, four-hit ball to pick up his 12th win of the season in the Reds' 3-1 victory over the Cubs.

Actress Natalie Portman and former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland will headline a "Ohio Women's Vote 2012 Summit" Wednesday morning at the Museum Center at Union Terminal, in an event sponsored by the Obama campaign.

The Israeli-born actress, who won an Oscar in 2011 for her role in "Black Swan," has campaigned for Obama around the country, including an earlier stop in Cincinnati.

The campaign says the event will "provide Ohio women with an opportunity to hear how President Obama is standing up for Ohio woman and their families."

President Obama, before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of thousands at Cincinnati’s Eden Park, said his opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, “talks the talk, but I walk the walk” on a whole host of issues, from China policy to taxes to job creation.


And, while in the key battleground state of Ohio, in a county he won four years ago and desperately wants to win again, he told the estimated crowd of 4,500 at Eden Park’s Seasongood Pavilion that, in 15 days, they have to work hard to get thousands of their friends and neighbors to vote early.

President Obama's motorcade is on its way to Seasongood Pavilion at Cincinnati's Eden Park, where thousands of supporters have filled the hillside opposite the Cincinnati Art Museum, eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Excerpts of the president's speech make it clear that the president intends to tout his administration's action this morning to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over what it considers unfair trade practices by China in the export of autos and auto parts.

Mitt Romney's campaign has already called the action "too little, too late."

Just how all-pervasive is this presidential campaign in Ohio, the swing state of all swing states?

Well, we know that the presidential candidates, President Obama and Mitt Romney, are camping out in the state with regularity – Romney at a rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville Friday; Obama on his way to rallies in Cincinnati and Columbus on Monday – but that it only part of the story. GO

Both Vice President Biden and the Republican nominee for vice president, Paul Ryan, were in Clermont  County within days of each other last week.

Just how all-pervasive is this presidential campaign in Ohio, the swing state of all swing states?

Well, we know that the presidential candidates, President Obama and Mitt Romney, are camping out in the state with regularity – Romney at a rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville Friday; Obama on his way to rallies in Cincinnati and Columbus on Monday – but that is only part of the story.

Both Vice President Biden and the Republican nominee for vice president, Paul Ryan, were in Clermont  County within days of each other last week.

For decades now, Democrats running in Ohio - from president to governor to a host of lesser offices - have turned to one man to help give their campaigns a boost - John H. Glenn Jr., the Mercury astronaut who was the first American to orbit the earth.

Glenn, now 90 years old, left the U.S. Senate in 1999 after representing Ohio in the U.S. Senate for 24 years; and he remains one of the most popular figures in Ohio politics - not only for his service in the Senate but for his status as an icon of the U.S. space program.

As thousands of delegates to the Democratic National Convention celebrated the re-nomination of Barack Obama for a second term as president, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney of North Avondale said the president showed "great courage" in his acceptance speech.

"It took great courage for him to use that line from Abraham Lincoln,'' Kearney said from the floor of the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.

Tina Bayne of Springfield Township thought earlier this year about running for one of the 1st Congressional delegate spots to the Democratic National Convention, but, as she said, she "chickened out."

"You had to go out and get people to vote for you,'' she said.

Instead she came to Charlotte this week as one of the thousands of volunteers who have been working in Time Warner Cable Arena, helping guide delegates around the building, checking credentials and making sure people could find their way around a crowded and often chaotic convention hall.

Tina Bayne of Springfield Township thought earlier this year about running for one of the 1st Congressional delegate spots to the Democratic National Convention, but, as she said, she "chickened out."

"You had to go out and get people to vote for you,'' she said.

Instead she came to Charlotte this week as one of the thousands of volunteers who have been working in Time Warner Cable Arena, helping guide delegates around the building, checking credentials and making sure people could find their way around a crowded and often chaotic convention hall.

WVXU News

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson - man who has ran for the presidency twice - told Ohio delegates  they have to beware of what he calls Republican efforts to keep down the Democratic vote this fall, in Ohio and elsewhere.

"You can win the debate, and lose the election,'' Jackson told Ohio delegates at their final morning breakfast at the Oasis Shriners' Lodge in Charlotte.

Last night, convention managers arranged for the key battleground state of Ohio to cast the ballots that officially gave Barack Obama the nomination, but former governor Ted Strickland said Thursday morning that Ohio Democrats have a more important job to do.

"It was Ohio that cast the votes to make President Obama the nominee of this party,'' Strickland told Ohio Democrats at their daily delegation breakfast in Charlotte. "But now we have a more important job - delivering to President Obama Ohio's electoral votes on Nov. 6."

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach and several other Ohio elected officials were locked out of Time Warner Cable Arena shortly after 9 p.m., just as rumors were running rampant that President Obama was going to enter the building for President Clinton's nominating speech.

"They told us the fire marshal said there were too many people in the building,'' Seelbach said.. "But we were hearing about President Obama coming in to the building."

Hundreds were stuck outside the building, unable to get in.

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