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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.

The Field Is Set; And Cincinnati's Mayor's Race Is On

John Cranley, Yvette Simpson, Rob Richardson

The field is set for Cincinnati's mayoral primary; and it will feature three Democratic candidates.

The candidates who will be on the May 2 primary ballot filed long before Thursday's deadline.

They are the incumbent, John Cranley; council member Yvette Simpson, who is giving up what is probably a safe seat on council to take on Cranley; and labor lawyer Rob Richardson, a first-time candidate whose term on the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees ended in December.

The top two finishers in the May primary will go on to face each other in the November general election. A full, four-year term as mayor is at stake.

The only thing approaching drama about Thursday's candidate filing deadline was whether or not Republican city council member Charlie Winburn, who had taken out petitions to run for mayor, would file them.

Winburn, who will leave council at the end of the year because of term limits, ended the speculation Thursday morning when he released a written statement saying he would not be a mayoral candidate.

"While I would love to continue to serve the city as a public official, I decided there are serious needs in both my public and private life that I could not serve if I jumped into a long and demanding campaign,'' Winburn wrote.

He also said his wife Coleen "continues her fight against breast cancer and it is important to both of us that I am by her side throughout the entire process."

Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou has said on previous occasions that he never talked to Winburn about running for mayor and that the GOP had no candidate. The Republicans will, though, field a slate of city council candidates.

City Council candidates have until August to file petitions, although many have already done so.

The early voting period in the mayoral primary begins April 4. The last day of voter registration for the May 2 primary is April 3.  

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