Howard Wilkinson

Senior Political Analyst

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. 

In 2019, Wilkinson was named Senior Political Analyst for Cincinnati Public Radio as he retired from fulltime employment. He will continue to appear on  Cincinnati Edition, write blogs on politics and his popular Tales from the Trail, all available on

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Ohio GOP delegates in Tampa got a surprise visit Monday from a man who had run for the GOP presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who sang the praises of drilling for more Ohio oil and natural gas as a campaign issue.

Gingrich, who is making the rounds of key state delegations, argued that scientists have recently found Ohio - particularly eastern Ohio - has 42 times as much natural gas beneath its surface as previously thought; and said that Republicans could use that energy resource as a way to win votes this fall.

Ohio delegates were in a ballroom of the Mainsail Suites and Conference Center when it was announced that there was a tornado warning in the area and everyone was ordered to stay in the building.

The delegates were listening to a presentation by staff members of the Ohio Romney campaign on grassroots organizing. It was raining heavily when the warning was issued, but the rain quickly passed and there was some sunshine.

The warning was canceled shortly after 2 p.m.


Josh Romney, the middle child of Mitt Romney's five sons, gave the Ohio delegation a pep talk about his father this morning.

And guess what?

He thinks his dad would make a great president.

"This man is my hero,'' Josh Romney said in a brief speech to the Ohio delegation Monday morning. "I want people to get to know the real Mitt Romney and they will like what they see."

Josh Romney said he has traveled all over the country campaigning for his father over the past 18 months.


Josh Romney, the middle child of Mitt Romney's five sons, gave the Ohio delegation a pep talk about his father this morning.

And guess what?

He thinks his dad would make a great president.

"This man is my hero,'' Josh Romney said in a brief speech to the Ohio delegation Monday morning. "I want people to get to know the real Mitt Romney and they will like what they see."

Josh Romney said he has traveled all over the country campaigning for his father over the past 18 months.

The nearly 500 Ohioans who came to Tampa this week for the Republican National Convention had hoped they would be celebrating a  victory - having their favorite son, Sen. Rob Portman of Cincinnati - in the second spot on the GOP ticket.

But it was not to be.

And. despite their disappointment, the 66 delegates, 63 alternates and several hundred Ohio guests here are taking it well; and vowing they will let bygones by bygones when it comes to going back home to work for the ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman chosen over Portman.


Each morning this week Howard Wilkinson will join Maryanne Zeleznik to talk about the Republican National Convention.  Here's today's chat:

Ohio has "the most important delegation from the most important state in the most important country in the world,'' Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W. Bush told the Ohio delegation Monday morning.

"You have a profoundly important job to do, and, boy, do you know how to do it,'' Fleischer told the delegates at their morning breakfast in Tampa. "You need to deliver Ohio for Mitt Romney."

Despite the fact that Tampa is taking only an indirect hit from Tropical Storm Isaac, calling off the Monday sessions was the right call, Ohio Republican Party chairman Bob Bennett said this morning.

"A few days ago, it looked like it would be a direct hit,'' Bennett told reporters before the Ohio delegation breakfast Monday. "They made the right call."

The Ohio delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa was to have heard from Mitt Romney's son, Craig this morning, but the middle child of Romney's five sons, Josh is now going to take his place.

Josh is rumored to have his own political ambitions.

With the convention sessions canceled today because of weather conditions, most delegates will be stuck at the hotel; and, at 12:45, they will get an extra treat - former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who ran for the GOP nomination and lost, will visit the Ohio delegates.  


With Tropical Storm Isaac about to pass by Tampa Bay in the Gulf of Mexico Monday, Ohio's delegation to the Republican National Convention streamed into a resort hotel on the north side of Tampa Sunday, and had barely unpacked their bags before the partying began.

A half dozen buses lined up outside the Mainsail Suites and Conference Center - home to the Ohio delegation this week - to take them across Tampa Bay to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for "The Welcome Event," a three-hour extravaganza of music and entertainment meant to kick off the party convention.

Ohio's delegation to the Republican National Convention - set to begin Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa - is already gathering in the city on the bay, hoping for a convention that will give its presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, a bounce in the polls.

They're also hoping to stave off disaster - natural disaster, in this case, which is entirely possible given the fact that Tropical Storm Isaac could be at hurricane status by the time it passes by the Tampa Bay area in the Gulf of Mexico, probably on Monday.


Grammy Award winning singer John Legend is the headline draw for the opening of a new Obama-Biden campaign office in Over-the-Rhine early Thursday evening.

Legend, a native of Springfield, Ohio, is expected to be at the new office at 1130 Main Street at 6:30 p.m.

The politically-active Legend, who has won nine Grammy Awards, is the son of a worker at an auto manufacturing plant and is expected to talk to the crowd about President Obama's bailout of the auto industry, which the campaign argues saved thousands of jobs in Ohio.

Both the presidential contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney and Ohio's U.S. Senate race are dead heats, according to an Ohio Poll released this morning by University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research.

Obama holds a 3 percentage point advantage over Romney among likely Ohio voters, 49 percent to 46 percent - within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman won't be the vice presidential candidate nominated at next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, but he will be one of the opening acts Wednesday for the man who is to be number two on the GOP ticket, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Portman is scheduled to speak to the convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa Wednesday night, during prime time, and just after former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Following Portman to the podium will be Columbus business owner Steve Cohen of Screen Machine Industries.

Howard Wilkinson talks about Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's decision on voting hours, Paul Ryan as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee and the Republican Convention which begins in a week.


In politics, as in most human endeavors, a compromise solution that leaves both sides less than ecstatically happy is probably the right solution.

That may be the case with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision this week to set uniform hours for early, in-person voting at all of Ohio’s 88 county board of elections.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich - who has been no stranger to controversy in his year and a half in office - seems to be gaining popularity with voters, according to a new poll released this week.

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina Democrat polling firm, released a poll of Ohio voters Wednesday showing that 41 percent approve of Kasich's job performance, while another 41 percent disapprove.

The two members of the Hamilton County board of commissioners who are up for re-election this year – Republican Greg Hartmann and Democrat Todd Portune – will have no major party opponents in the Nov. 6 election.

Leaders of both major political parties said giving the commissioners a free ride was not part of a deal. Four years ago, both Portune and Hartmann faced weak opponents who had little or no party backing.

The two political parties tried and failed to come up with county commission candidates by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Here’s a video of the author of the Washington Post’s “The Fix,” political writer Chris Cillizza on the upside and downside of picking Sen. Rob Portman as Mitt Romney’s running mate. On the plus side, Cillizza says the Terrace Park Republican’s strength “is his reliability….he could step in and do the job on day one.” His liability?