Connie Pillich

alicia reece
John Minchillo / AP

Former state representative and Cincinnati council member Alicia Reece appears to have won a narrow victory in a three-way Democratic primary to run this fall for Hamilton County commissioner.

pillich prather reece
Courtesy of the candidate; Twitter; the candidate

Three women are vying for the Democratic nomination in the race to win a Hamilton County Commission seat. The death of Todd Portune essentially leaves the seat vacant, because his named successor, Victoria Parks, opted not to run.

All three candidates appeared on Cincinnati Edition to talk about their histories and their visions for Hamilton County.

Vote, Board of Elections, Hamilton County
Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU

Three women are vying to represent the Democratic Party in November's Hamilton County Commission race, hoping to claim the seat previously held by fellow Democrat Todd Portune, who died in January.

jim neil
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Hamilton County Democratic Party leaders did something Saturday morning that is extremely rare in local politics – they yanked the party endorsement of an incumbent elected official – in this case, Sheriff Jim Neil.

hamilton county democratic ticket 2020
Rucker, Tana Weingartner/WVXU; Prather, Facebook; all others courtesy of the candidates

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Hamilton County Democratic Party faced an upcoming candidate filing deadline with a sense of dread, as if it were a gigantic root canal and the anesthetic wasn't taking hold.

2020 hamilton county commissioners
Howard Wilkinson, Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Former county commissioner Todd Portune got what he wanted from the Hamilton County Democratic Party's central committee Saturday morning – the appointment of his former chief of staff, Victoria Parks, to serve out the remainder of his term.

hamilton county administration building
Courtesy of Hamilton County

There's clearly something in the DNA of Democrats in Hamilton County that makes them unable, or unwilling, to believe that they are sitting in the catbird seat.

alicia reece connie pillich
Reece courtesy of the Ohio Statehouse; Pillich of the candidate

There was a time when the leaders of the Democratic Party in Hamilton County had to crawl on their hands and knees and beg people to run for county offices.

todd portune
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Longtime Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, who is battling cancer, has said he will resign by the end of the year. He would like to choose his replacement, who would presumably run for a full four-year term in 2020.

gwen mcfarlin
Courtesy of Springfield Township

The law of unintended consequences doesn't always lead to bad consequences.

WVXU file

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik today about the departure of former state representative Connie Pillich as co-chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Pillich is the new executive director of the National Association of Women Judges. Pillich was instrumental in raising the money needed for the success at the polls the Hamilton County Democrats enjoyed in the Nov. 6 election. Wilkinson says her fundraising prowess will be missed by the party. 

connie pillich
Sarah Ingles

Five months after Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin joined forces to become the first women co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, Pillich has left to head a non-profit in Washington.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

In the end, it was no contest. The team of former state representative Connie Pillich and Springfield Township trustee Gwen McFarlin have been elected as the new co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Saturday, the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will meet at a union hall in Evendale to choose a successor (or successors) to Tim Burke, who is retiring after 24 years as county party chair. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Burke's departure and what the future of the party may look like. 

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin, two women with experience in elective office, are running as a "co-chair" team to take over the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

We hope you are sitting down while reading this, because this is astounding news:

Republicans running for governor in Ohio have more money than Democrats running for governor. Way more.

It's too early to tell if this is an advantage or a disadvantage, but it is a fact:

The field of Republican candidates for the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial election are generally better known than their Democratic counterparts.

About a month ago, David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, was more than a bit concerned.

Back then, he had no announced candidates for Ohio governor in 2018, while some rather well-known and well-funded Republicans were gearing up for a fight.

"The time to start organizing campaigns is now,'' Pepper told WVXU in February. "There is no time for exploratory committees and thinking about it. It is time to get on with it."

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Former state representative Connie Pillich of Montgomery has been laying the groundwork for months and, Monday morning, she made it official – she will be a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor in 2018.

She becomes the third Democrat to announce as a candidate for governor in 2018, joining former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Copley and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni of Boardman.

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