Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor is the lead digital political reporter for NPR. Based in Washington, D.C., she covers the 2016 elections and national politics for NPR digital.

Before joining NPR in May 2015, Taylor was the campaign editor for The Hill newspaper where she oversaw the newspaper's 2014 midterm coverage, managed a team of political reporters and wrote her own biweekly column.

Prior to The Hill, Taylor was a writer and producer for MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd" and a contributor to the NBC News Political Unit. She covered and reported on the 2012 election as a senior analyst for The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report. Her quotes have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as several state and regional newspapers across the country. Taylor has also appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN and other local network affiliates.

On Election Night 2012, Jessica served as an off-air analyst for CBS News in New York, advising producers and reporters on House and Senate races.

Previously, Jessica was editor of National Journal's "House Race Hotline" and Assistant Editor for POLITICO during the 2010 midterms. She began her career in Washington as the research director for The Almanac of American Politics.

A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., she is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. and now lives in Alexandria, Va.

A critical House special election on Tuesday could provide some of the biggest clues yet about how much trouble Republicans could be in this November.

In Ohio, the last Republican vs. Democrat matchup before November has become the latest proxy fight for whether Democrats can harness the energy, activism and overperformance in past special elections to pull off an upset in a GOP-held district.

In the Trump era, the phrase "all politics is local" may feel like an anachronism. But in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen is trying to prove that national partisan divides can be overcome in the most surprising Senate battleground of 2018.

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on behalf of 81 candidates for federal and state offices on Wednesday, his first major batch of endorsements for the 2018 midterm elections.

"I'm proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they're running to represent," Obama said in a statement.

Americans don't think President Trump has been tough enough on Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after Trump's summit in Helsinki last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nearly two-thirds said so, and it wasn't just Democrats. Almost half of Republicans surveyed (47 percent) also said Trump hasn't been tough enough on Russia, with just 20 percent saying he has taken about the right approach.

In an election year shaping up to be a good one for Democratic women candidates, Republican women could see their numbers drop after November. But one state where GOP women might find success is in Tennessee.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn will go up against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in one of the year's most critical and competitive Senate races. Rep. Diane Black is running for governor, though she first has to win a very competitive primary next week.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has words of praise for Sarah Sanders, his successor on the podium, and says she has figured out how to please President Trump in the job in a way he struggled to do.

"I think Sarah has done a great job of making sure that she understands what the president wants," Spicer told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly in an interview on Wednesday in advance of next week's release of his book The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

President Trump said on Friday that he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

"I've got it down to about five" candidates, including two women, Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He indicated that he may interview one or two candidates there this weekend.

"It is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Trump added.

Updated at 12:35 a.m. ET

National progressives scored a major coup over the Democratic establishment Tuesday night as 28-year-old activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset House Democratic Caucus chairman and longtime New York Rep. Joe Crowley.

Two of the things President Trump likes most are winning and loyalty, and both have clearly been on his mind as he's doled out prized political endorsements this year.

For candidates this cycle in a Republican primary, winning Trump's endorsement is political gold. It can push them over the finish line in a tough race, and it gives the president a chance to claim credit for their victories and get some of the glory.

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

There was a private lobbying force behind President Trump's change of heart on his controversial policy that resulted in thousands of family separations at the southern U.S. border: first lady Melania Trump.

A White House official confirmed to NPR's Sarah McCammon that Mrs. Trump pressed her husband to act to keep undocumented immigrant families together.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies — but doesn't completely end — the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration.

Updated, 10:15 p.m. ET

On the same day that that President Trump's former campaign chairman was sent to jail, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani floated the idea that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation could be "cleaned up" with presidential pardons.

"When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons," Giuliani told the New York Daily News on Friday.

Updated at 9:41 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Results from Tuesday's primaries underscored one major theme – it's Donald Trump's Republican Party now.

‪"The Republican Party has moved from the country club to the country," former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who ran the committee charged with electing Republicans to the House, told NPR's Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Mark Sanford is a political survivor like few others.

As governor of South Carolina, he disappeared from the state and infamously claimed to be "hiking the Appalachian Trail" in 2009 when he was instead carrying on an extramarital affair in Argentina.

That scandal ended Sanford's marriage but he rode out the political storm and finished his second term in 2011.

Democratic dreams of a massive blue wave delivering them a House majority this fall may be dimming.

"Right now there's not a lot of signs of a true wave," argued one longtime House GOP operative. "There are tough races, and the Democrats have a path to the majority, but if they get locked out of two or three seats in California, or nominate far-left candidates in some of these battleground races, that starts to make it a lot harder."

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

Tuesday was another big night for Democratic women and political newcomers in the party, with a historic nomination in Georgia, an intra-party squabble settled in Texas and an upset victory in a Kentucky House race.

The day's contests featured Democratic ideological and stylistic battles, but in the end the national party largely got the candidates they wanted — especially in critical Texas — that they believe will be the most competitive general election nominees.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET Wednesday

Democratic women again finished strong in primaries on Tuesday night, with Pennsylvania poised to send as many as four to Congress next year to break up the state's all-male congressional delegation.

Updated at 11:15 p.m. ET

Republicans may have avoided a possible electoral disaster in West Virginia with controversial coal baron Don Blankenship finishing third in the Senate primary to take on Democrat Joe Manchin, but voters gave the GOP establishment some warning signs in other places on Tuesday.

Democrats are going into the 2018 elections with the wind at their backs, which could even be enough to flip a Senate map heavily stacked for Republicans come November.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., is stepping down from Congress after a sexual harassment scandal earlier this year in which he called a former aide a "soul mate."

The Pennsylvania Republican, who had already announced he wouldn't seek re-election in 2018, announced he would resign effective Friday, ending an Ethics Committee investigation into allegations made by a former staffer and triggering another special election in the state this year.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn from consideration for the post amid allegations he had fostered a hostile work environment and behaved improperly while serving as the top doctor leading the White House medical unit.

The gun issue is beginning to wane in voters' minds ahead of the November midterm elections, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

While almost half of all registered voters (46 percent) say a candidate's position on gun policy will be a major factor in deciding whom to vote for, that number is down 13 points from February, when a shooting at a Florida high school sparked outrage.

Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Charlie Dent was already one of a record number of House Republicans who weren't running for re-election this November. Now he is rushing out the door even faster.

The moderate Pennsylvania Republican — who hasn't been shy about voicing his frustrations with the congressional GOP and disdain for President Trump — on Tuesday announced he would soon resign from Congress instead of sticking around until January.

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