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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.

Democratic county commission candidate says he is in the race to stay

Sean Patrick Feeney said this afternoon he has rejected attempts by Democratic Party leaders to get him to step aside in the Hamilton County commission race for former mayor Charlie Luken.

"I'm committed to this; and I am going to continue on,'' said Feeney, a technology consultant who lives in North College Hill.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said he wanted Feeney, a first-time candidate, to step aside so the Democrats could run former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

"We asked him to step aside and he is not going to do that,'' Burke said late this afternoon. "That's the end of it. So be it."

The deadline for replacing a candidate in the Nov. 4 election is 4 p.m. Monday.

If Feeney had agreed to withdraw, Burke would have had to call an emergency meeting of the Democratic Party's executive committee over the weekend to approve a new candidate. .

Luken had expressed interest in the race, Burke said, but had not made a commitment to run. The former mayor and congressman is already a candidate for Hamilton County probate court judge and would have had to withdraw from that race. Luken could not be reached for comment.

Feeney won the May Democratic primary over Paul Komarek with 65 percent of the vote. Neither candidate had a Hamilton County Democratic Party endorsement.

Burke said that Greg Landsman, an unsuccessful candidate for Cincinnati council last year, and former council member Jim Tarbell had also expressed interest in taking on Monzel. Burke said Landsman would step aside if Luken decided to run.

But Feeney said he heard from Landsman who "pledged his support to my campaign."

The interest in taking on Monzel appears to be coming from anger in some sectors over the decision this week by Monzel and fellow Republican commissioner Greg Hartmann to place a sales tax hike on the ballot to repair Union Terminal. Many others favored a plan that would have repaired both Union Terminal and Music Hall.

It is an issue Feeney is campaigning on.