Howard Wilkinson

pearl harbor uss arizona
AP

Over the years, I have walked many a Civil War battlefield, from Gettysburg to Shiloh to Antietam; and, as I walk, I always stop and ponder the "witness trees" – the massive old trees that were actually there in the 1860s and witnessed the battle.

no issue 3 demonstrators
No on Issue 3 Campaign / Facebook

I thought I had seen it all in almost a half century of covering politics, but I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like what is going on in the campaign to defeat Issue 3, the Cincinnati charter amendment that would require the city to put $50 million a year into an Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

john boehner jim jordan
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

It was only a matter of time before the former House Speaker John Boehner, raised in blue-collar Reading and now living in a gated community in West Chester Township, would simply just blow his top.

nan whaley
John Minchillo / AP

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has probably been asked the question 1,000 times since the 45-year-old Democrat announced in January that she won't run for a third term as Dayton's mayor: Are you going to run for Ohio governor in 2022?

Provided

It took a public corruption of major proportions to bring Cincinnati's Charter Committee out of its decades-long slumber.

But Charter is back in a big way, harkening back to its roots as the force which, in the 1920s, drove the corrupt political bosses out of power and helped establish "good government" in Cincinnati, in the council-manager form of government.

tim ryan amy acton
Robert F. Bukaty, Tony Dejak / AP

Neither Tim Ryan nor Dr. Amy Acton have said whether they will run in next spring's primary for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat.

But if they do, they have friends ready to help.

council cincinnatus
Michael Keating / WVXU

Cincinnati's Charter Committee – the independent political party that has fashioned itself to be the watchdog for "good government" in the city – is going back to its roots.

marian spencer
Courtesy of the University of Cincinnati

How nice that the Cincinnati Democratic Committee says it does not want to confuse voters in the Cincinnati City Council and school board elections this year.

How odd, though, that they think having their endorsed candidates be cross-endorsed by the Charter Committee (or any other political party) would confuse the voters.

Pixabay

Aftab Pureval, Cecil Thomas, David Mann.

Those are your top tier candidates in the May 4 Cincinnati mayoral primary. Not necessarily in that order.

And only two of them can survive the primary.

jane timken josh mandel
Julie Carr Smyth, Phil Long / AP

The two early favorites for the 2022 GOP nomination for U.S. Senate – former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken and former state treasurer Josh Mandel – have been trying to one-up each other lately to prove who has the most undying loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

amy acton
Tony Dejak / AP

So, is the notion of Dr. Amy Acton as a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate realistic?

ohio clock
Jose Luis Magana / AP

There are two things the voters of Ohio have never done – elect an African American or a woman to the United States Senate.

You can't blame the voters of the Buckeye State for this. No African American has been the nominee of either major political party for a Senate seat; and only one woman – a white woman – has run. And she lost the general election.

tim ryan
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

He's really doing it this time.

Tim Ryan, the longtime Democratic congressman from the Mahoning Valley, will run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

jane timken josh mandel
Julie Carr Smyth, Phil Long / AP

Jane Timken, the Canton conservative who was hand-picked by Donald Trump to become Ohio Republican Party chair in 2017, and Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer from Northeast Ohio who ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Sherrod Brown for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

That, to me, is the most likely 2022 primary match-up on the Republican side for the Senate seat now held by Rob Portman, who is taking a pass on running for a third term.

Updated: 4:13 p.m.

Now that Rob Portman has taken himself out of the picture for a run for a third term, a brawl may be brewing in Ohio Republican circles to take his place.  

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

You may find this hard to believe, but as of Wednesday, 75 people had gone to the Hamilton County Board of Elections and picked up petitions to run for Cincinnati City Council this year.

biden inauguration
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The overwhelming majority of us are hoping that today's inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris goes smoothly, without violence and without the need for most of the 25,000 National Guard troops who are in place to keep the peace.

trump portman dewine
John Minchillo / AP

Donald Trump, impeached twice and soon to be gone from the White House, will likely always have his corps of MAGA hat-wearing fans who believe he can do no wrong, that he is the be-all and end-all of their world. But there are signs that Trump's grip on Republican voters who are less fanatical in their devotion to him is starting to slip.

capitol riots aftermath
Patrick Semansky / AP

A week ago, in the aftermath of a violent, destructive and deadly rampage of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters – a rampage that could have been much worse – we were inundated by tweets and press releases from Republicans in the Ohio congressional delegation decrying what had happened in their workplace, the very center of American democracy.

But barely a word about who inspired a frenzied mob of thugs to scale the walls and cause chaos in the halls of Congress – the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

nan whaley
Darron Cummings / AP

If you are going to take on an incumbent elected official, it helps to have a fire in your belly and a score to settle with your opponent.

david pepper
John Minchillo / AP

Rarely is there anything that happens in the Ohio Democratic Party that takes place as smooth as silk.

Take the choice of a new state party chair, which is scheduled to take place when the party's executive committee meets in Columbus on Jan. 14.

hamilton county boe
Aaron Doster / AP

This column is a look-ahead at politics in this corner of the world. It is not by any means a prediction of the future.

I am not Carnac the Magnificent. (Younger readers, just Google it.)

politics year in review
Clockwise from top left: Tony Dejak, Carolyn Kaster, Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Alex Brandon, Gene J. Puskar / AP

We will all, I'm sure, be glad to the see the backside of the year 2020 as it disappears from view in a week or so.

And we will all, I'm equally sure, hope and pray for a return to normalcy – or something approaching normalcy – in the year 2021.

jim rennaci
Tony Dejak / AP

I'm sure you all the know the old saw: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Jim Renacci, the former congressman from northeast Ohio who lost a U.S. Senate race to Democrat Sherrod Brown in 2018, has been exhibiting some distinctly duck-like qualities lately, at least when it comes to his political future.

christmas pickle
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

It usually starts around Thanksgiving.

My Facebook page and Twitter account light up with friends, near and far, demanding an answer to a single question.

voting
John Minchillo / AP

There are at least 10 people who are either declared candidates for Cincinnati mayor or strongly considering a run for the office next year. The criminal charges against P.G. Sittenfeld, previously the front-runner, has opened up the floodgates.

boxing
Pixabay

The older I get, the more likely it is that I wake up in the morning with aches and pains. I guess that's part of the deal.

david pepper
Aaron Doster / AP

I don't know if David Pepper, who will leave his six-year stint as Ohio Democratic Party chairman at the end of the month, will run for Cincinnati mayor in 2021.

I do know that he is thinking about it, because he told me he is. But he is nowhere near committing to a race.


kevin flynn
Cory Sharber / WVXU

In 2017, Kevin Flynn decided not to run for re-election to Cincinnati City Council after four years as a self-described "watchdog" over the city's council-manager form of government. Now, watching as three council members have been charged with felony corruption charges, Flynn has decided to attempt a return to City Council in 2021.

There is no guarantee, but Flynn is looked on by most people as a formidable contender for an open seat on council.

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The ever-dwindling band of Republicans in the city of Cincinnati haven't had much reason for hope in city politics for two generations now.

But the turmoil and "culture of corruption" at City Hall that has landed three council members in some very hot water – federal charges of bribery and abusing their offices – somehow is giving them a feeling there may be better days to come.

Pages