Howard Wilkinson

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.

tim ryan rob portman
Charlie Neibergall, J. Scott Applewhite / AP

It seems like forever since Democrat Tim Ryan of Trumbull County was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002, and ever since politics reporters around the state (me included) have written more than our fair share of stories and tweets speculating about Ryan's political future.

cincinnati candidates for mayor
Bill Rinehart, WVXU; Sarah Ramsey, WVXU; John Minchillo, AP; Twitter

I can't presume to say that Cincinnati Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld's political ambitions, which burned hotter than a match until his recent indictment on felony charges of bribery and extortion, are snuffed out for good.

dewine trump
Evan Vucci / AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine went on CNN last weekend and said that Joe Biden should be considered the president-elect. That got under Donald Trump's skin to the point that the next day, he was tweeting out that Ohio's gubernatorial election could get interesting, implying that DeWine might face a GOP primary challenger in 2022.

trump portman dewine
John Minchillo / AP

The wrath of Donald Trump is something fearsome to behold.

Especially when one of his fellow Republicans tries to burst the bubble of the fictional scenario inside his head that tells him he somehow won re-election and will be sworn into office for a second term on Jan. 20.

Wrath so awesome it can make grown Republican officeholders quake in fear and scramble to reassure him that Joe Biden is not the president-elect.

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Murray Seasongood. Ted Berry. Charlie Taft. Bobbie Sterne. And all the others from generations of leaders at Cincinnati City Hall who have upheld the standards of honesty and integrity in the city's council-manager form of government for generations now.

What would they be thinking if they could see the mess that Cincinnati City Council has become?

charmaine mcguffey
Jolene Almendarez / WVXU

If you follow local politics at all, you probably already know that the Hamilton County Democrats had a near sweep of county offices and judgeships.

alicia reece
Alicia Reece / Twitter

Donald Trump won Ohio again Tuesday, but Hamilton County was a deep blue holdout.

Democrats won all the races for county offices except prosecutor, along with an astounding nine of 13 judgeships - where party designations were not on the ballot.

election night results
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Here's some free advice for anyone who plans to watch the election results Tuesday night (and likely into Wednesday morning). Take a tip from that noted sage of the baseball diamond, Yogi Berra – it ain't over until it's over.

joe biden donald trump
Alex Brandon, Patrick Semansky / AP

After winning Ohio by a comfortable eight-point margin four years ago, Donald Trump finds himself in a statistical tie with Joe Biden for Ohio's 18 electoral votes going into the last weekend of campaigning.

donald trump circleville
Jason Whitman / WVXU

The last thing President Trump wants to talk about is clearly the first thing on the minds of Ohioans and voters in Great Lakes battleground states – the COVID-19 pandemic.

early voting
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Over 1.2 million Ohioans have already voted in the Nov. 3 election, both by absentee ballots and in-person early voting at county boards of elections.

mitch mcconnell
Susan Walsh / AP

Fans of irony should take note of the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky.

The contest between six-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger, former Marine pilot Amy McGrath, could well produce the greatest election irony in many a year.

early voting
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

This presidential election in Ohio is clearly going to shatter all previous records for turnout. By the time the polling places open on Nov. 3, over half of Ohio voters will have already cast early ballots, either by absentee ballot or in person at county boards of elections.

joe biden
Andrew Harnik / AP

Ohio is back in the conversation when it comes to presidential politics, but two things are certain in this year of almost universal uncertainty.

joe biden
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Joe Biden brought his campaign for the presidency to Cincinnati Monday with a message for Ohio Democrats – their votes matter; and they can help him heal the divisions he says President Donald Trump has caused in this country over the past four years.

Pages