Jim Heath

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Jim Heath
Jim Heath 2014.jpg
Broadcast news journalist Jim Heath
Born (1966-04-20) April 20, 1966 (age 51)
Van Wert, Ohio
Occupation TV news journalist, Author
Parent(s) Rolden L Heath, Jr. (deceased)
Doris J. Heath

Jim Heath (born April 20, 1966, in Van Wert, Ohio) is a best selling author and award winning television news correspondent. Prior to writing Front Row Seat at the Circus: One Journalist's Journey through two Presidential Elections Heath was the Political Correspondent and Analyst for WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. He was also the moderator of the weekly political program Capitol Square, aired each Sunday on WBNS.

Front Row Seat at the Circus is a behind-the-scenes look at Heath's coverage of both the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Steve Scully, Political Editor of C-SPAN Networks and Past President of the White House Correspondents' Association said about the book, "Electing a president has turned into a political circus and nobody captures it better than Jim Heath. From his vantage points in South Carolina and Ohio, which are ground zero in presidential campaigns, Jim provides amazing insights and remarkable stories. This is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the sport (or circus) of politics." The book also received positive reviews from Rick Klein, Political Director of ABC News; Jeff Zeleny, CNN's National Political Correspondent; Dr. Larry Sabato, Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics; Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland; U.S. Senator Rob Portman; Kevin Madden, Senior Adviser and Spokesman, Mitt Romney for President 2012; and David Wilhelm, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Campaign Manager for Bill Clinton for President in 1992.[1]

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Heath made national news following an interview with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. During the interview, which took place in Columbus, Ohio, Heath asked Romney whether he supported the Blunt Amendment. The controversial legislation was being voted on by the U.S. Senate the following day. Romney answered "no, I do not support the bill" but later in the day reversed his position, claiming he misunderstood Heath's question. The reaction to Romney's initial answer made headlines across the county and was the topic of national cable television political shows.[2][3][4][5] The exchange led GQ Magazine to list Heath on their Top 5 political "Power List."[6]

Prior to Ohio's 2012 presidential primary, The Washington Post named Heath to their "Best Super Tuesday Twitter List."[7]

During the 2008 presidential primary cycle, Heath was the only television anchor in South Carolina who landed interviews with all the presidential candidates. He was invited on board the campaign bus of Senator Fred Thompson during his first campaign trip to South Carolina. He interviewed Senator Barack Obama from J.V. Martin Middle School, one of the oldest and poorest schools in the south. He spent an inning at the ballpark interviewing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He interviewed John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards as they walked into the South Carolina Democratic Convention. He interviewed former Governor Mitt Romney during his first campaign trip to Myrtle Beach. Heath was the only local journalist invited to interview Senator Hillary Clinton from Florence, South Carolina, as she began her presidential bid.[8]

Heath has known and covered Senator John McCain for over thirty years. In 2002, Heath and McCain won an award from the Arizona Associated Press for a live interview. When McCain returned to Greenville, South Carolina in January, 2006, for the first time since his defeat in the 2000 South Carolina primary, Heath was granted the first interview.[9] Heath also landed a rare interview with Cindy McCain.[10]


Prior to joining WBNS, Heath was the Statehouse Correspondent and Capitol Square Moderator for the Ohio News Network. From 2003 to 2009, Heath was the primary evening anchor at the ABC-TV affiliate WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. From 2000 to 2003, he was the primary evening anchor at the NBC-TV affiliate KYMA-DT in Yuma, Arizona.

Prior to television, Heath spent a decade in the political arena, including serving as the first congressional press secretary for Rep. J.D. Hayworth, chief of staff to corporation commissioner Dale Morgan, and a candidate for statewide public office in Arizona.[11]

Although born in Ohio, Heath grew up in Lake Havasu City, Arizona and was a communications major at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He completed his broadcasting internship at KTSP CBS (now KSAZ-TV) in Phoenix.


  • Heath was awarded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.[12]
  • Heath has won two Emmy Awards for his political reporting and has received a total of five nominations.[13]
  • The Ohio Society of Professional Journalists presented Heath with a "Best Government Reporting" award.[14]
  • Lake Havasu High School awarded Heath with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
  • Heath was four times selected Anchorman of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Herald.[15]
  • The Associated Press has presented Heath with multiple "Best Live Reporting" awards.[16]


  1. ^ "Front Row Seat at the Circus". frontrowseatatthecircus.com. 
  2. ^ Sargent, Greg (2012-02-29). "Romney comes out against `Blunt-Rubio' - The Plum Line". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  3. ^ Gerald Herbert, Associated Press. "Mitt Romney's interview with Ohio News Network reporter leads to gaffe on birth control issue". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  4. ^ "Friday, March 2 - msnbc - Hardball with Chris Matthews | NBC News". MSNBC. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  5. ^ "Super Tuesday Campaign 2012 | Video | C-SPAN.org". C-spanvideo.org. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  6. ^ Cogan, Marin (2012-03-02). "The Weekly Power List: 03.02.12: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics". GQ. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  7. ^ "The best Super Tuesday Tweeps: A Fix List". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  8. ^ "Latest local news, weather and high school sports for Myrtle Beach and Florence". Wpde.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  9. ^ Jim Heath interviews Senator John McCain by Jim Heath (2007-08-21). "Jim Heath interviews Senator John McCain : News : CarolinaLive.com". Wpde.com. Retrieved 2014-08-05. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Mrs. McCain on the campaign trail by Jim Heath (2007-09-18). "Mrs. McCain on the campaign trail : News : CarolinaLive.com". Wpde.com. Retrieved 2014-08-05. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Working 4 a Living". Myrtlebeachonline.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  12. ^ The Columbus Dispatch (2013-03-06). "WBNS wins award for election coverage". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  13. ^ Ohio Valley Emmys 2014 Recipient List
  14. ^ "Ohio's Best Journalism 2014". Spjawards.org. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  15. ^ http://myrtlebeach2007.anchormanoftheyear.com. Retrieved March 27, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060225185118/http://www.azbroadcasters.org/eventcal.html. Archived from the original on February 25, 2006. Retrieved July 19, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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