Jessica Taylor | KERA News

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.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be feeling the heat again in Tuesday evening's debate as he tries to rebound from a disappointing performance last month that renewed questions about his viability.

"I think there's going to be a lot of pressure on Jeb," predicted Katie Packer Gage, who was Mitt Romney's deputy campaign manager in 2012. "He put some pressure on himself by telling people he's going to get better and work on his debate performance. I think this is kind of a make-or-break moment for him to really step up what he's been able to do in previous debates."

They didn't share a stage during Friday night's South Carolina Democratic forum, but Hillary Clinton's rivals still managed to throw plenty of elbows trying to question the frontrunner's liberal bona fides.

Trying to stunt the former secretary of state's rise in the polls, both Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley jabbed at Clinton during their interviews with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow at Winthrop Unversity, criticizing her environmental positions, her coziness with Wall Street and more.

It's becoming a monthly tradition — on the last day of the month, the State Department unloads thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails.

While Clinton maintains she never used her personal server to send or receive classified information, between 600 and 700 emails have been classified retroactively since the monthly releases began in May, according to Politico. The latest batch this month includes over 7,000 pages of new documents.

In a feisty debate in Colorado on Wednesday night, Republican presidential candidates spent almost as much time sniping at the CNBC moderators as they did at each other.

The faceoff was messy and chaotic from the beginning, with candidates trying to jump on others and make their voices heard.

One person who succeeded at that was Marco Rubio. The Florida senator had several standout moments and earned many plaudits from pundits after the debate.

Updated at 7:25 p.m.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham may have been the warm-up act for the main GOP debate Wednesday night, but they all tried to make the best of it.

Jindal tried to hammer home that he's the most conservative, touting his credentials as governor — but he also had to repeatedly defend his economic record that even some home-state Republicans have criticized.

Updated at 12:10 pm ET.

Republicans are set to take the stage Wednesday night for their third presidential debate. This one is focused on the economy, but you can bet there will be plenty more topics explored.

For many candidates, who have been touting their business background and job creation experience, it gives them an opportunity to try to flex their muscles. Others will need to seize the chance to show they can handle economic concerns, which remain atop voters' minds.

Ben Carson has surged into a lead in Iowa and is climbing nationally thanks to his appeal to evangelicals. But could his own beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist make him anathema to many of those same voters?

Donald Trump seemed to question the Republican neurosurgeon's faith over the weekend.

"I'm Presbyterian," Trump said at a Saturday rally in Florida. "Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."

A TV star just won a landslide election for president, besting the country's former first lady.

Could it be a headline from the future — in November 2016?

Actually, it happened in Guatemala this past weekend, when, on Sunday, former TV comedian Jimmy Morales rolled to a victory over Sandra Torres, the country's former first lady.

It's a good thing for him that Mitt Romney isn't running for president again.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee — who has still been bandied about as a potential candidate — just embraced everything that made many conservatives skeptical of him. He admitted that the health care plan he instituted as governor of Massachusetts was the precursor to Obamacare.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go for Jeb Bush.

When he entered the race, the former Florida governor was the establishment front-runner, bursting with big bucks from his own campaign and superPACs.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee ended his long-shot presidential bid on Friday.

"As you know, I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace. But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today," Chafee announced at the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum.

Thursday was one of the most important days of Hillary Clinton's political career. The Democratic presidential candidate faced grilling for more than eight hours over the 2012 terror attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The questions from the 12 House Select Committee members — seven Republicans and five Democrats — split mostly along partisan lines.

The positions are set for next Wednesday's third GOP debate — and it's going to look a lot like the last one.

CNBC announced Wednesday that 10 candidates would qualify for the main debate at 8 p.m. ET in Boulder, Colo. Again at center stage will be billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who's continued to dominate the GOP field. He'll be flanked by second-place neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has surged to third since the last debate and will be on Trump's other side.

Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday he will not be a candidate for president in 2016, sparing Democrats from a shake-up in the race for the White House and removing a potential stumbling block for Hillary Clinton.

The vice president's decision comes after a long, and very public, struggle with whether or not to make a third run for the White House. Overcome with grief after the death of his eldest son, Beau, in May from brain cancer, at many times Biden seemed far from ready for the rigors of the campaign trail.

What motivates someone to give money to a foundering, long-shot campaign?

Just 10 people were major donors to Lincoln Chafee's presidential campaign. By contrast, more than 650,000 people have donated to Bernie Sanders.

NPR called up several listed on his third-quarter financial report, and three explained why they decided to pony up for the former Rhode Island governor.

Updated at 1:30 p.m.

Jim Webb ended his Democratic campaign for president on Tuesday, leaving open the possibility he could still run as an independent.

Decrying how far both parties had moved from the center, the former Virginia senator acknowledged that there was no path forward for him in the current 2016 field.

Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb announced Monday he is considering running for the White House as an independent instead.

The moderate former Virginia senator has struggled to gain traction in a field that's so far been dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the surprisingly strong performance from Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Fundraising is one of the most concrete indicators we have of whether campaigns are catching fire and how well they're allocating their funds — and for several White House hopefuls, the news isn't good.

Among the standouts from the newly released third-quarter fundraising numbers, there are some sober truths to be derived for several candidates — your campaign is on life support. Here are some hopefuls who should be very, very worried.

Lincoln Chafee

Republicans handed more ammo to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, with another congressman suggesting the purpose of the House Benghazi committee was to harm the Democrat's presidential bid.

New York Rep. Richard Hanna was the latest to fuel the fire, telling local radio station WIBX:

Biding his time may have cost Joe Biden after Tuesday's Democratic primary debate — but it could also be a welcome relief for the would-be candidate who never really seemed like he wanted to be a candidate.

As the vice president continues a Hamlet-like exploration of a White House bid, his self-imposed deadlines have come and gone, and yet he appears no closer to making a final decision.

A bruised Hillary Clinton will have much to prove as she takes the debate stage Tuesday evening alongside four of her Democratic presidential challengers. The former secretary of state has been damaged by lingering questions about her private email server and doubts about her trustworthiness.

That has partly enabled Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to ride a wave of progressive support to a lead over her in New Hampshire and an impressive $25 million fundraising haul last quarter.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From Sam Sanders, a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk:

The nail in the coffin of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's hopes of being the next speaker was opposition from the House Freedom Caucus. The rogue conservative group of about 30 members instead wants it to be Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.

But Webster might not even be coming back to the House in 2017, thanks to a redrawing of his congressional district that might make it unwinnable for the GOP.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was supposed to win the GOP leadership election to succeed retiring House Speaker John Boehner easily. Wrong.

Faced with a conservative revolt and an inability to win over his caucus, McCarthy made a stunning announcement Thursday that he was withdrawing from the race.

Democrats rejoiced in the ensuing chaos. There was reportedly crying in the halls of Congress. And 2016 contenders even offered up their thoughts on successors.

Here are some of the best reactions.

This post was updated at 4:25 p.m.

In a shocking move Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled out of the race for speaker of the House, throwing the GOP leadership race into chaos and confusion.

According to Republican congressmen coming out of the caucus meeting — where lawmakers were expected to pick a successor to retiring House Speaker John Boehner — McCarthy told Republicans he didn't have a path to victory.

After months of not committing to a position on President Obama's proposed Asia trade deal, Hillary Clinton came out against it Wednesday.

Republican presidential candidates have remained firmly opposed to more gun control measures in the wake of last week's tragic shooting at an Oregon community college.

Instead, most are urging a renewed focus on mental health with a caution not to react too quickly before all the facts are known — but some of them have reacted inartfully at best.

This post was updated at 4:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton unveiled her gun-control proposals on Monday in New Hampshire, calling for what she sees as "common-sense approaches" to minimize gun violence less than a week after the latest mass shooting.

Joe Biden is flying high as speculation swirls around his joining the race for the White House.

But while the vice president may have soaring popularity in the polls right now, the true test of whether he can keep his favorables afloat comes after he becomes a candidate.

Jeb Bush sparked controversy yet again with his word choice on the campaign trail Friday.

When asked about Thursday's shooting at an Oregon community college, the former Florida governor argued for caution against more gun control as an instant reaction, saying that "stuff happens, there's always a crisis" you have to respond to when in leadership.

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