Howard Wilkinson

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Having been one of millions of little kids in this country who worshipped John H. Glenn Jr. when, as a Mercury astronaut, he became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, it still boggles my mind that as an adult, I got to know him so well.

But it never really occurred to me that, in 1988, I would be sitting on the couch with Glenn in his hotel suite at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, trading political buttons with him.

But I did.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the state of Cincinnati's mayoral contest between John Cranley and Yvette Simpson, 99 days before the election.  

That Cincinnati mayoral primary in which the incumbent, John Cranley, lost by 10 percentage points to Council Member Yvette Simpson is now in the rear-view mirror.

Immediately after it was over, Cranley and his campaign vowed to mend their ways and spend more time and effort engaging voters one-on-one and ramping up their grassroots efforts, instead of depending solely on dumping a small fortune into 30-second TV ads which, frankly, many voters tune out as background noise.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

I cut my teeth as a young reporter on one of the toughest nuts to crack in Ohio political history – the late James A. Rhodes, four-term governor of the Buckeye State.

Provided

Senator John McCain is diagnosed with brain cancer but still travels to Washington for a health care vote, President Trump continues to publicly demean his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner testifies about meetings with Russians, and Sean Spicer is out and Anthony Scaramucci is in.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik about what the possible entry of Democrat Richard Cordray could mean to an already crowded field; and why this race to replace lame-duck governor John Kasich is already in full-swing. 

For a guy who refuses to talk about the subject, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has nearly everybody in Ohio Democratic Party politics expecting him to jump into the 2018 race for governor.

We've always thought Cordray had some extraordinary politics skills, but to create the kind of buzz we have seen in the past week while steadfastly refusing to talk about it is quite a neat trick.

It's not as if the Democrats don't already have some credible candidates for governor in the 2018.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

There are an awful lot of people who knew Morris K. Udall – better known as "Mo" ­– who believe he would have made a great president of the United States.

The Arizona Democrat served in the U.S. House for 30 years until the effects of Parkinson's Disease forced him into retirement in 1991.

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WVXU reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the phenomenon of Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval. Wilkinson also talked about a new column which will appear on Saturdays at wvxu.org - Tales from the Trail, a light-hearted behind-the-scenes look at over 40 years of covering politics. 

Let's be honest here.

Unless you are a practicing attorney or a judge, had you ever spent more than 10 seconds thinking about the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts office until a 34-year-old Democrat named Aftab Pureval seemingly appeared out of nowhere and won that office last November?

Jim Nolan/WVXU

Cincinnati City Council strikes a compromise on human services funding, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts offers employees wage hikes and paid family leave and Ohio begins its next fiscal year with a $65 billion budget.

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Here's a confession about my old friend Howard Wilkinson: Many of his best stories never made the radio, newspaper or web.

Yes, he has reported the news for 43 years, and has been the leader in breaking news about politics – but his best stories were about how he got the story, the crazy, weird and always funny stuff that happened in pursuit of the news. Until now.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

Howard Wilkinson has been reporting on local, regional and national politics for more than 40 years. He's covered every Ohio governor's race since 1974 as well as 16 presidential conventions, and interviewed hundreds of politicians, from city council candidates to sitting presidents.

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Note: This segment originally aired on March 14, 2017.

Since he's been in office, President Trump has continued his running battle with reporters and increased his allegations that media outlets are generating fake news. He reiterated his accusations during his recent trip to Europe for the G-20 Summit.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with Jay Hanselman about the field of candidates for Ohio governor in 2018, and how the popularity (or unpopularity) of Gov. John Kasich and President Trump might play into the GOP gubernatorial primary. 

It's too early to tell if this is an advantage or a disadvantage, but it is a fact:

The field of Republican candidates for the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial election are generally better known than their Democratic counterparts.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about President Trump's Elections Integrity Commission and its demand that all 50 states turn over personal information on voters. 

If you are a baseball hitter and you have a game where you go 0-4 – no base hits in four at-bats – you're not a happy camper.

But you are not totally despondent. In baseball, there is usually a game tomorrow and you have a chance to go 4-4.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

This week the Cincinnati community reacted to the second mistrial in the case against Ray Tensing, and waits to hear if he will be put on trial a third time. And the Ohio legislature passed a $65 billion state budget. Governor John Kasich has until midnight Friday to sign the budget and make any vetoes.

Provided

The Republican party divides over the senate's version of a healthcare bill, the White House bans cameras and recording devices from press briefings, Democrats go 0 - 4 in special congressional elections, which is causing division in their party, and President Trump continues his claims about fake news.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Friday's mistrial in the case of Ray Tensing, accused in the shooting death of Sam DuBose two years ago. 

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the four likely Republican candidates for Ohio governor and the impact that President Trump could have on the race. 

If you are a Republican who wants to be elected the next governor of Ohio in 2018, you may be scratching your head over what to do about the man sitting in the White House, President Trump.

Do you run and cling to his side through next Spring's primary election, hoping that enough of those 2,841,005 Ohioans who voted for Trump for president last November will fall into your lap?

Former Enquirer editor Dennis Hetzel has combined his love of politics and sports in his new novel. 

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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. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Standing on the banks of the Ohio River, with a barge full of West Virginia coal in the background, President Donald Trump outlined a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

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.

It's not surprising that, in Cincinnati, people who follow politics closely are fixated between the mayoral race between two Democrats – incumbent John Cranley and council member Yvette Simpson.

WVXU/Pete Rightmire

It's been a busy week for President Trump, who has visited Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Rome and is now in Brussels for a NATO summit. Meanwhile, members of congress on both sides of the aisle are rejecting the president's budget proposal. And a former CIA director's testimony increases concern over contacts between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign staff last year.

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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. 

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