2018 election

john cranley
John Minchillo / AP

Cincinnati City Council over-rode a mayoral veto of a ballot issue Thursday that would allow council to hold closed-door sessions under certain circumstances.

aftab pureval attack ad
CLF Super PAC, YouTube / Screen grab

Did you ever read a Superman comic book when you were a kid?

If the answer is yes, then you probably know all about Bizarro World, the cube-shaped planet where everything is upside-down and contrary to normal expectations.

Well, welcome to Bizarro World.

aftab pureval sunshine ad
Aftab Pureval / YouTube

Updated: 9:24 a.m.

This time around, TV ads featuring a stuffed toy duck squawking Aftab! – well, that just won't do it.

donald trump
Evan Vucci / AP

You may well look at your ballot in November and see the names of more women candidates than you can ever remember – especially for local offices.

About time, many of you will say.

And, to put it in its simplest terms, you have one person to thank for that.

Courtesy Stephanie Dumas

Before the May 8 primary, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who believed that former Forest Park Mayor Stephanie Summerow Dumas would win the Democratic primary for Hamilton County Commissioner.

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.

This may sound like crazy talk, but there are some out there in Democratic circles – both here and in Washington – who believe Ohio's 1st Congressional District will be in play in 2018.

Taking on Republican Steve Chabot, the Westwood Republican who has represented Ohio's 1st Congressional district for all but two of the past 23 years, seems, on the surface at least, to be Mission Impossible.

It's not quite time to break out the noisemakers and drop the balloons in celebration, but Hamilton County Democrats could do something in 2018 that hasn't been done in the lifetime of anyone reading this column.

They could end up holding all three seats on the Hamilton County Board of County commissioners.

Todd Portune's not going away anytime soon; Denise Driehaus just arrived earlier this year; and neither of them are up for re-election until 2020.

WVXU

Four of the seven seats on the Cincinnati Board of Education are up for re-election. One incumbent, Elisa Hoffman, chose not to run again. The race has drawn a large field of candidates – three incumbents and 10 challengers.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Rob Richardson's run for Ohio treasurer and how it is emblematic of the rise of a new generation of Ohio Democratic candidates from the Cincinnati area. 

Over the years, we have seen hundreds upon hundreds of candidates for political office who get their names on the ballot for offices big and small, and end up getting walloped on election day.

And, very often, those candidates are never heard from again. Maybe out of embarrassment at their poor showing. Maybe because they find that campaigning is too hard and not worth the effort. Or maybe just don't see any way to avoid being walloped again.

Rob Richardson, the labor lawyer and former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, is not among them.

Nothing is ever certain in politics – we found that out in a bigly way in last year's presidential election – but it is highly likely that the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Ohio will be rematch of 2012.

We eschew betting in general – especially on baseball – but we would bet a dollar to a donut that, as in 2012, incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown will be facing Republican challenger Josh Mandel, the state treasurer.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik  Monday morning about rampant speculation that  former Cincinnati mayor and talk show host Jerry Springer might run against incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup in Ohio's Second Congressional District. 

There just seems to be something inherently unfair about how Ohio draws its congressional district lines, a process that, in 2011, was controlled by Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly.

WVXU

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the challenges the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would face in taking on Republican incumbent Steve Chabot in Ohio's First Congressional District. 

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the large number of Democrats coming out to run for Congress and Cincinnati City Council. Could the election of Donald Trump last fall be fueling this surge in Democrats running for office? 

There are still about 19 months before anyone in the U.S. has to vote in the mid-term Congressional elections of 2018 – a fact that would make one think that things are rather quiet on that front these days.

Except they aren't quiet.

In fact, there is a small crowd of potential Democrats gathering (and organizing) to take on three-term incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup in Ohio's Second Congressional District next year.

Does this seem odd to you? In this heavily Republican district, one that stretches from eastern Hamilton County east to Pike and Scioto counties?

Red, blue or purple.

Those are the three choices on the political spectrum for a city, a county, or a state.

Ohio voters will pick their favorite color in 2018, the next round of statewide elections, in every office from governor and U.S. senator on down.

And how they choose might determine whether the pendulum swings back from red to blue, or at least, purple, in a state where all the statewide constitutional officeholders are Republican and where Donald Trump stunned Ohio Democrats in November by winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes by a sizeable margin.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Republican, versus incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat.

Sound familiar?

WVXU-FM

The last three election cycles have been miserable for Democrats in Ohio. Hillary Clinton failed to win the state this year, and, in 2014 and 2010, the Democrats were completely shut of all of Ohio's statewide constitutional offices. Can they make a comeback in 2018's mid-term election? WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Jay Hanselman about it on Morning Edition Monday.