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Politics
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.

Ohio Democratic Party Backing Write-In Candidate In 2nd District Race

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Update Sept. 2?6, 2016: The Ohio Democratic Party has taken the unusual step of endorsing a write-in candidate in the Second Congressional District race. 

Saturday, party leaders met in Columbus and gave their endorsement to Janet Everhard, a retired physician from New Richmond over the man who won the March Democratic primary, truck driver William R. Smith of Pike County.

Original post Sept. 13, 2016: It's not very often that a political party rejects a candidate who won its primary election and backs a write-in candidate instead.

But that's exactly what the Hamilton, Clermont and Brown County  Democratic Parties are doing in Ohio's Second Congressional District race.

William R. Smith, a truck driver from Waverly in Pike County, won the March primary and will be on the ballot facing incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup. Smith ran and lost in 2012, and is not campaigning at all.

Hamilton County Democratic Party chair Tim Burke says that's why the party has had enough of Smith and is backing a write-in candidate, Janet Everhard of New Richmond instead. 

"The guy who won the primary hasn't done anything and won't do anything,'' Burke said. "We know that because he has done this before. He happens to have a common name and that's apparently enough for people to vote for him."

Everhard filed recently as a write-in candidate; and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party organizations in Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties. More county party organizations may follow. And Burke has said he is going to ask the Ohio Democratic Party to endorse Everhard. 

Everhard has a campaign website and a campaign Facebook page. Smith does not. 

Everhard told WVXU that she understands how difficult it is to win a write-in race, but said she is committed to this long-term.

"I'm going to give it my all, but, if it doesn't work this time, I will be back in two years and try it again, this time on the ballot,'' Everhard said. "If it takes four years, I'll do that." 

Burke called her "an exceptionally well qualified candidate."

"She is a doctor, a surgeon – now retired – and very articulate, very positive,'' Burke said. "She's the far better candidate."

Smith, in a phone interview said party leaders in Hamilton County and at the state level "let me know I wasn't welcome."

He said he doesn't have the financial resources to mount any kind of campaign.

"No, I'm not campaigning," Smith said. "I'm just kind of dead in the water out here."

Wenstrup is running for a third term in the overwhelmingly Republican district.