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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Now, Berns wants back in Cincinnati's mayor race

Libertarian Jim Berns, who sent a hand-written letter to the Hamilton County Board of Elections yesterday, saying he was withdrawing from the Cincinnati mayor's race, told the board today that he wants to be a candidate again. 

But, board officials say, there is a legal question over whether Berns could withdraw from the race in the first place.

Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, told WVXU that the board's lawyer told the board there is no provision in the Cincinnati city charter allowing candidates to withdraw.

Burke said the matter has been referred to City Solicitor John Curp to determine whether or not Berns' withdrawal was valid under the city charter section governing city elections. Burke said the board may not have an answer until Monday.

Yesterday, in his hand-written letter to the board, Berns said he did not want to lend "my participation in an illicit mayor primary" that would cost the taxpayers $400,000.

Today, he said he wants to remain a candidate in order to get his message out.

"Anybody with any sense knows that Roxanne Qualls and John Cranley are going to win this primary,'' said Berns. "They have all the money, all the organization. The best way to get rid of people like me is to have a primary with minor party candidates on the ballot, who have no chance.

But, whether Berns is in or out, there are still three candidates -  Qualls, Cranley, and Queen Noble - which means there will be a mayoral primary on Sept. 10.