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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.

A Small Army Of Republicans Running For Boehner's Seat; And Winburn Changes Course

Ann Thompson

There was some drama and outright odd situations in Wednesday’s candidate filing deadline for the March 15 primary.

Candidates had until 4 p.m. to get their petitions in to county boards of elections in Ohio. There were some interesting situations in the four southwest Ohio counties – Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont.

Most of the petitions filed near the deadline have yet to be checked by election officials, but most will end up qualifying for the ballot and the March 15 local races will be set – along with the presidential and U.S. Senate primaries that will take place in Ohio that day.

Listen to Howard Wilkinson explain it all here: 

Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights:

Hamilton County:

County commissioner/Recorder: The drama on filing deadline day revolved around Cincinnati City Council member Charlie Winburn, a Republican.

The question was whether he would file for an open Hamilton County commission seat or file for the primary for the county recorder’s office.

Less than an hour before the 4 p.m. deadline, one of Winburn’s supporters delivered his petitions to the Hamilton County Board of Elections – petitions to run for county recorder.

That means Winburn will face former judge Norbert Nadel, who could not run for re-election last year because of Ohio age limits on judges. A third Republican, Russ Jackson of Anderson Township, filed petitions, but won’t have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot, according to elections director Sherry Poland.

The winner of the Winburn-Nadel race will face incumbent Democrat Wayne Coates, who has no opposition in the March 15 primary.

With Winburn out of the race, there are still three Republicans running for the seat of Greg Hartmann, the two-term Republican commissioner who announced recently he won’t be running again.

One is Colerain Township Trustee Dennis Deters, brother of prosecutor Joe Deters. Also running is Mary Anne Christie, a former mayor of Madeira and a member of the state GOP central committee. The third candidate is Raj Rajagopal, a long-time party activist who works for the probation department.

State Rep. Denise Driehaus, who is term-limited out of the Ohio House, is the sole Democratic candidate for Hartmann’s seat.

Democratic incumbent commissioner Todd Portune is running for re-election; and his opponent will be Republican Andrew Pappas, an Anderson Township trustee. The two candidates are unopposed in the primary.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, Juvenile Division: Tracie M.Hunter, a Democrat suspended from the juvenile court bench, convicted of a felony that is on appeal, and facing a new criminal trial next month, filed petitions Wednesday to run for the judgeship from which she was suspended.

Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke, who also chairs the county’s Democratic Party, said he is not sure Hunter, in her legal situation, can run for the office and is seeking legal advice from the county prosecutor and the state.

The board of elections meets Monday to certify candidates for the March ballot, but it’s not clear if Hunter’s status will be clarified by then.

And the Democratic Party already has an endorsed candidate for the juvenile court judgeship – Darrell Payne, a personal injury lawyer.

The Republicans are running Municipal Court Judge Melissa Powers for the seat.

You can find a link to the rest of the Hamilton County filings here.

Butler County:

8th Congressional District: When former House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester resigned in October, Republican leaders in his district expected a crowd for the March 15 special primary.

It’s doubtful, though, that they expected 17 Republicans to file petitions in Butler County, the most populous county of the heavily Republican western Ohio district.

Only one Democrat, political activist Corey Foister of Fairfield, filed for the special primary election.

Foister will face the winner of the GOP primary in a special election to be held June 7.

The Butler County Board of Elections meets Monday to certify the candidate for the March 15 ballot. There’s no guarantee that all 16 Republicans who filed will have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Take a deep breath and read the names of the 16 Republicans:

-         J.D. Winteregg of Troy, Eric Haemmerle of West Chester, Matthew Ashworth of Hamilton, Kevin F. White of New Carisle, Terri King of Middletown, John W. Robbins of Monroe, Edward R. Meer of West Chester, Donald Feerer of Hamilton, State Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds of Middletown, State Rep. Tim Derickson of Hanover Township, Joseph Matvey of West Chester, George Wooley of Troy, Warren Davidson of Troy, Jim Spurlino of Centerville, Michael Smith of Germantown and Warren Davidson of Troy. 

They only need the valid signatures of 50 Republican voters to qualify.

The rest of the Butler County filings can be found here.

Clermont County:

County Commission:  No Democratic candidates filed in the primary in any of the county offices in Clermont County. 

But Republicans in the county will have contested races for two county commission seats.

Incumbent Republican Bob Proud is not running for re-election. Two Republicans, Barb Brunner of Batavia and David L. Painter of New Richmond, will face each other for Proud’s seat.

Incumbent Republican Ed Humphrey is being challenged by Republican Michael Collins of Milford.

The rest of the Clermont County filings can be found here.

Warren County:

County commissioner: It appeared for a while this year as if there might be a Republican primary battle for the county commission seat of Pat South, who decided early this year not to run for re-election.

State Rep. Ron Maag, who is term-limited considered it, but rejected it. There was much talk that C. Michael Kilburn, the former county commissioner, would run in one of the most heavily Republican counties in the state.

But, in the end, only State Sen. Shannon Jones of Springboro, who is term-limited out of the Ohio Senate, filed petitions to run for South’s seat.

And since no Democrat filed to run against her, Jones will likely move into the county commissioner’s office in Jan. 2017.

You can read about other Warren County filings here.

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.