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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.

Butler County Sheriff Won't Run For Boehner's Seat

Butler County Sheriff's Office

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, a Republican, took himself out of the running Friday for House Speaker John Boehner’s soon-to-be vacant House seat.

Jones, who has built a national reputation as a crusader against illegal immigration, put out a written statement Friday morning saying that he has “been fortunate enough to receive an enormous amount of support from citizens in and around Butler County.”

“My passion,’’ Jones said, “has always been serving my county and country.”

But, Jones said, “I’ve decided that, right now, the best way to do that is to remain sheriff.”

“Someday, my future may take a different path, but I’m extremely proud to be sheriff of Butler County and I truly appreciate the outpouring of support I’ve received over the years and specifically the last few weeks,’’ Jones said.

Most Republicans believe Jones would have been a formidable contender for the 8th Ohio Congressional District seat that Boehner is giving up at the end of the month.

It is a heavily Republican district that runs from Butler County in the south to Mercer County in the north.

Gov. John Kasich has yet to set a date for special primary elections on the Democratic and Republican sides and for a special general election. Whoever wins the special general election will have to run again in Nov. 2016 in order to keep the seat.

On the Republican side, two candidates have already entered the race – State Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City and J.D. Winteregg, a Troy Republican who challenged Boehner in the 2014 GOP primary. Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds said this week he is considering entering the GOP special primary. 

Others are expected to join in the race, both on the Republican and Democratic sides.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.