Politics

Former Kentucky state representative Charles Booker announced Sunday he’s “strongly considering” a bid for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s seat in 2022.

Booker discussed his future on the KET program Connections with Renee Shaw. The interview aired the day after protesters marked one year since Louisville Metro Police shot and killed Breonna Taylor.

“When Breonna’s door was kicked in, all of our doors were kicked in,” Booker said during the interview. “I think in those moments you can fall into your corner, you can give into fear, you can turn away and give up, or you can come together and push harder to cast a new vision. Coming into 2021, I believe that’s where we are.”

In states like Georgia and Arizona, there are fierce partisan battles going on right now over voting proposals. But in Kentucky's Republican-led legislature, a bill to boost voter access and election security has gotten widespread support from both parties.

The legislation is now at the Senate, after passing the House 93-4 late last month.

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.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office is suing officials at the U.S. Commerce Department and Census Bureau for delaying the release of 2020 census data used to redraw state legislative and congressional districts.

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

Donald Trump is no longer the president but his firm grip on the Republican Party remains, and he wants it known. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was on the receiving end of a stunningly scathing statement issued by the former president following McConnell's condemnation of Trump on the Senate floor.

The Republican president of the Kentucky Senate filed a bill that would restrict “no-knock” search warrants, the type of warrant used in the Louisville police raid that killed Breonna Taylor last year.

Senate Bill 4 would still allow no-knock warrants to be issued in cases where someone allegedly committed a violent crime, or if giving prior notice would endanger someone’s life or result in the loss of evidence related to a violent crime.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said the Breonna Taylor raid wouldn’t have happened under his proposal.

“You’re not going to have a situation that occurred here that you’re going to create a no-knock search warrant to search for papers, stolen items, drugs, anything like that,” Stivers said.

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.

Once a key swing state, it’s been 30 years since Democrats controlled Ohio’s Statehouse and a decade since a Democrat was governor. The state went for Donald Trump in 2016, and the 2020 election cemented even further the GOP dominance of Buckeye politics.

The job of changing that has fallen to Liz Walters, a Summit County council member and the first woman elected to head the Ohio Democratic Party. She must work hard and fast, now that U.S. senator Rob Portman will step down in 2022.

snow blizzard
Pixabay

Winter is upon us and, although I don't know about you, I am not one bit happy about it.

The contest for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate is now a real race, now that the former chair of the Ohio Republican Party has done as many expected and jumped into the race. It’s shaping up to be a battle over which candidate can tie themselves more closely to former president Donald Trump.

city hall
Wikimedia Commons

Nine candidates filed petitions by Thursday's deadline for the May 4 Cincinnati mayoral primary.

If they all qualify for the primary ballot, it will be a record number of candidates since Cincinnati went to the direct election of the mayor in 2001. The previous record was seven in 2005.  

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.

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Kentucky legislature would require the governor to replace a departing U.S. senator with someone from the same political party.

The proposal is supported by Kentucky’s 78-year-old U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and comes as state lawmakers continue to try and chip away at Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s powers.

Senate Bill 228 would be a big change from how Kentucky governors currently fill senate vacancies — picking whomever they want.

Instead, the governor would have to pick a replacement from a list of three nominees selected by the state party of the departing senator.

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.

city hall
Wikimedia Commons

It has been a tough year for Cincinnati when it comes to trust in local government. Three separate corruption scandals have rocked City Hall, leaving political watchers to call for big changes to the way the peoples' business is done on Plum Street.

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.

jean schmidt thomas hall
Courtesy

The new year brings new lawmakers to Columbus and that includes four representatives from Southwest Ohio. One of them is a battle-tested campaign veteran returning to public life. Another is now the youngest member of the legislature.

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.  

rob portman
John Minchillo / AP

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced this week that he will not seek reelection, citing incivility and lack of partisan cooperation in our nation's capital.

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.

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.)

2020 year in review politics
Jacquelyn Martin, Tony Dejak, Jay LaPrete / AP

You really don't need me to tell you what a stinking mess 2020 was.

2020 most read wvxu
Clockwise from top: Susan Walsh/AP; Kings Island; Jason Whitman/WVXU; Marco Langbroek via Sattrackcam Blog; Andrew Harnik/AP

As we dug into the data to see which stories resonated with you most in 2020, two topics dominated, not at all unsurprisingly.

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