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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.

Suspended Judge Tracie Hunter Takes Out Petitions To Run For Judge

Ann Thompson

Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter, convicted of a felony last year and facing a criminal trial in January, has taken out petitions to run as a Democrat for her now-vacant seat on the Hamilton County juvenile court bench.

She will not be an official candidate until she files the petitions by the Dec. 16 deadline and has her petitions certified by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

But county party chairman Tim Burke, who is also chairman of the board of elections, told WVXU he doesn't think she is qualified to be a candidate because of her suspension by the Ohio Supreme Court. Hunter, Burke says, is not a lawyer in good standing.

Burke says he is consulting with the board of elections' attorney on whether or not Hunter could legally run and serve.

She has until Dec. 16 to file petitions with the valid signatures of 50 voters.

Then, it will be up to the board of elections to decide whether or not to certify her candidacy.

“If she is not qualified under the law to run, I don’t think we can put her name on the ballot,’’ Burke said. “That’s what I am trying to find out.”

The Democratic Party has already endorsed attorney Darrell Payne of the West End for the judgeship.

Hunter faces trial on Jan. 19 on multiple felony charges after a jury last year could not agree on all but one count. In that trial, she was convicted on the felony count of unlawful interest in a public contract. Hunter was sentenced to six months in jail, but is free while that conviction is being appealed.

Hunter showed up in person at the board of elections Monday afternoon to pick up her petitions, according to the board staff. She could not be reached for comment.

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