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.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

As the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh neared, both parties had seen potential political benefits for them in the upcoming midterm elections.

For Republicans, it was a chance to energize the base by putting another conservative justice on the court, potentially reshaping it for a generation.

For Democrats, the specter of rolling back abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act and more was a way to further energize an already engaged liberal base to go to the polls.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

The final primary before November's midterm elections saw a progressive challenger fall short of taking down the incumbent Democratic governor in New York.

Andrew Cuomo easily beat back a challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, putting him on the path to a third term in office. He will be heavily favored against Republican nominee Marc Molinaro this fall.

Updated at 10:52 p.m. ET

Democrats backed by the state's political establishment rolled to victory in New Hampshire's primary Tuesday night, besting more progressive, outsider challengers in both the House and governor's races.

The most closely-watched and crowded race came in the state's open 1st congressional district, where New Hampshire Executive Councilor Chris Pappas topped the 11-way field.

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Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

As both parties begin their final post-Labor Day sprint to Election Day, there are concrete signs that Democratic voters are fired up heading into the midterm elections.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the majority of states that have already held primaries. There's been massive increases in Democratic turnout while often a minimal uptick — or even noticeable dip — in turnout among Republican voters.

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET

Favorites of both the conservative and progressive movements scored surprising wins in Florida's gubernatorial primaries on Tuesday, setting up a competitive clash come November.

Voters go to the polls in Arizona and Florida today, picking nominees in critical Senate and gubernatorial races.

Weekend events could cast a pall over contests in both states, though. Arizona Sen. John McCain died on Saturday, and while it's the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake on the ballot Tuesday, both the late senator and President Trump — who did little to hide his disdain for McCain — have factored into the bitter primary there.

Just under a month before Election Day 2008, a woman stood up at a rally and told Republican nominee John McCain a major concern she had about his White House opponent.

As the 2018 midterms draw closer, President Trump continues to claim there is a "Red Wave!" brewing.

The problem is that concrete voting data shows a very different type of wave forming — one that's poised to give Democrats a comfortable majority in the House.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET

Vermont voters made history on Tuesday as Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, won the Democratic primary for governor.

Hallquist, who will now face Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the general election, becomes the first openly transgender person to ever win a major party's nomination for governor in U.S. history. If she wins in November, she'd be the nation's first transgender governor.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a staunch ally of President Trump, has won the state's razor-thin Republican primary for governor after incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded on Tuesday night.

"This election is probably the closest in America, but the numbers are just not there unless we were to go to extraordinary measures," Colyer said.

Primary voters in four more states — Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont — go to the polls on Tuesday.

This year's been dominated by talk of Democratic gains, but Tuesday, Republicans will pick nominees in several places where they hope to flip House seats and even governors' mansions.

Two Republicans who failed to win the White House are hoping voters will elect them to lead their states for a third time — but one is trying to make a political comeback after almost a decade out of office.

Updated at 8:26 a.m. ET

Republican Troy Balderson held a narrow lead over Democrat Danny O'Connor in a hotly-contested Ohio special congressional election, with outstanding provisional and absentee ballots still to be counted.

Even if Balderson secures victory in the end, the result is sending the GOP warning signs for what's to come in November.

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.

Russian hackers trying to influence the 2018 elections made an unsuccessful attempt to breach the computer system of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of this fall's most vulnerable Democrats.

The Daily Beast reported that McCaskill is the first known target of the Kremlin's plot to interfere in this fall's midterm elections after targeting the U.S. in the 2016 presidential election.

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.

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