Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

Credit WVXU-FM

Howard 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. 

Three more persons have been indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury on charges of illegally voting in the November 2012 election, bringing the number charged with vote fraud up to six so far.


Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictments Tuesday, saying, if convicted, they face the possibility of up to 18 months in prison.


They were among six cases referred to the prosecutor by the Hamilton County Board of Elections so far in a widespread investigation of vote fraud in last fall’s election.


The three indicted Tuesday are:

Provided

Now that the Cincinnati Democratic Committee has endorsed 10 Cincinnati City Council candidates, the trick for the party will be to let loyal Democrats know that they can only vote for nine of them.


“Yes, we need to develop a message on that,’’ said Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said. “And, yes, it is a highly unusual situation.”


What happened was this:

Tuesday is a primary election day in Ohio, but voters in many townships, villages and cities in southwest Ohio won’t have anything to vote on.


The candidate races and ballot issues in southwest Ohio counties are few and far between – in fact, in Butler County, there is no election at all.


In Hamilton County, only 129 of the county’s 545 precincts will be up and running Tuesday, according to Amy Searcy, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. The 129 precincts are in 87 polling places.

It is entirely possible that, this November, two immovable objects will collide on the ballot in Cincinnati.


There is, unless the appeals court intervenes, every likelihood that the referendum to repeal the parking lease passed by Cincinnati City Council will be on the ballot – opponents of the lease plan came up with thousands more signatures than they needed to qualify for the ballot.


And there is a Cincinnati City Council election, with all nine seats up for grabs.

photo by Michael Keating

WVXU political reporter Howard Wilkinson talks about why Cincinnati Council Candidate David Mann is asking the Cincinnati Democratic committee again for an endorsement.  He'll also talk about Mitch McConnell fighting for his Senate seat in Kentucky. 

If you are an incumbent elected official and you are facing re-election, with dismal looking poll numbers and a potentially difficult challenger looming on the horizon, there is one thing you are likely to do.


Knock that challenger down a notch or two before he or she even gets in the race.


This is the situation where Kentucky’s senior senator, Republican Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate minority leader, finds himself.

campaign website

Former Cincinnati mayor and congressman David Mann was snubbed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee's nominating committee for an endorsement of his city council campaign, but he is not taking it lying down.

Mann sent a letter Friday to the full membership of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee (CDC), which will meet Saturday, May 4th at the Letter Carriers Hall in Northside to vote on the nominating committee's recommendations.

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, the Westwood Republican, wrote a strongly-worded blog posting Monday blaming the Boston bombings on “Muslim Jihadists” and accusing the Obama administration of trying to cover it up.

“These weren’t a couple of disgruntled Methodists who set off pressure cooker bombs in an attempt to kill and injure as many infidels as possible,’’ Chabot wrote on his blog. “They were Chechen radicalized Islamists who hated America, the country that had generously taken them in, clothed them, fed them and educated them.”

Campaign website

Kevin Johnson, a West End business owner and aide to former council member Laketa Cole, didn't get the nominating committee's recommendation for a Democratic party endorsement, but he is running for Cincinnati City Council anyway.

Johnson will kick off his campaign at 6 p.m. Thursday at Sonny's All Blues Cafe, 4040 Reading Rd., North Avondale.

Johnson said, years ago, that is where he had a conversation with former Cincinnati mayor Dwight Tillery that "set my life on a different path. I trace my passion for public service back to that day."

Campaign website

Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, is expected to formally announce his candidacy for Ohio governor Wednesday at stops in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati event takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Laborers' Local Union Hall at 3457 Montgomery Rd. in Evanston. RSVPs for all three events can be made here.

Michael Keating

This morning Howard Wilkinson talks about endorsements in the Cincinnati City Council race.

Gay marriage and guns.


Two issues, so completely different from one another, and yet they have defined Ohio’s junior senator, Rob Portman, in 2013.


Pundits and politicians alike are pondering how the Terrace Park Republican’s positions on these hot-button issues will impact his chances for re-election in 2016.


2016 seems to be a long way away; but, in politics, it is never too early to start thinking about the next election.

The Democratic Party's nominating committee has recommended a slate of nine Cincinnati City Council candidates that does not include a former mayor and councilman - David Mann - who is running again 21 years after leaving council.

Sarah Ramsey

Opponents of Cincinnati's parking lease plan have enough valid signatures to place the city ordinance on the November ballot.

Hamilton County Board of Elections director Amy Searcy said election officials have checked about two-thirds of the 19,803 signatures submitted by opponents of the plan to outsource Cincinnati parking meters and garages and 8,727 signatures were from registered Cincinnati voters.

Opponents of the parking lease needed 8,522 signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A commanding lead among male voters has made Ohio Gov. John Kasich the early favorite for re-election in 2014, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday morning.

A Cincinnati nun charged with illegal voting for filling out and mailing in a ballot in last year's election for a nun who was deceased entered a guilty plea to the charge Tuesday, but she will do no jail time.

Sister Marguerite Kloos, 54, of Delhi Township appeared in the courtroom of Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Winkler Tuesday morning to enter her plea.

Winkler sentenced her to a diversion program for at least a year. If she does not commit any more crimes, the record of her crime will eventually be expunged.

Jay Hanselman/WVXU

Democrat Cecil Thomas made official today what he told WVXU two months ago – that he will resign from Cincinnati City Council, have his wife, Pam Thomas, appointed to replace him, and run for the Ohio Senate in 2014.


His resignation will take effect after Wednesday’s council meeting.
 

Thomas, in a press conference this morning at the law office of Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke, said that his wife would be sworn in after the Wednesday meeting.
 

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Former Hamilton County commissioner and Cincinnati councilman David Pepper has launched his campaign to unseat Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Monday, his campaign filed papers with the Ohio Secretary of State's office, so he can begin raising money for the 2014 campaign; and has launched a campaign website.

Pepper, who was in Cleveland Monday, told WVXU he wants "to be a real advocate for the working people of Ohio."

Official Portrait

Howard Wilkinson talks about Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell's lack of popularity in his home state and what that could mean for his reelection bid.

So, is the election system in Hamilton County rife with fraud, with people voting twice and voting from fictitious locations and even casting ballots for dead people?


Well, yes and no.
 

Over the past several months, the Hamilton County Board of Elections has investigated dozens of cases of what they have called “voter anomalies.” But not enough to change the results of the election; and apparently not in any organized way.

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