Jessica Taylor | KALW

Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.

Before joining NPR in May 2015, Taylor was the campaign editor for The Hill newspaper. Taylor has also reported for the NBC News Political Unit, Inside Elections, National Journal, The Hotline and Politico. Taylor has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN, and she is a regular on the weekly roundup on NPR's 1A with Joshua Johnson. On Election Night 2012, Taylor served as an off-air analyst for CBS News in New York.

A native of Elizabethton, Tennessee, she graduated magna cum laude in 2007 with a B.A. in political science from Furman University.

The sixth Democratic primary debate has shaped up to be the smallest — and least diverse — so far of the 2020 campaign.

Just seven candidates have qualified per Democratic National Committee requirements: former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and nonprofit executive Andrew Yang.

Businessman Andrew Yang has qualified for the sixth Democratic primary debate next week.

The upstart entrepreneur and nonprofit executive becomes the seventh — and likely final — candidate to make the Dec. 19 debate cut. He reached the polling threshold after a Quinnipiac University poll was released Tuesday.

At the start of President Trump's term, Republicans had solidified control in Washington and their hold on state governments across the country, with 33 GOP governors in power. Democrats were at their lowest numbers in nearly a century — down to just 16 Democratic governors and having control of only 13 state legislatures.

In a reversal, embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter is now set to plead guilty to misusing campaign donations, likely ending the California Republican's political career.

Hunter told local TV station KUSI in an interview that he has struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of illegal use of campaign funds. He's due in federal court on Tuesday.

"It's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids," Hunter said.

The military dog who helped U.S. special forces kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month was honored as a hero at the White House on Monday.

Conan, a Belgian Malinois military service dog, was honored in the Rose Garden by President Trump, who called the canine "incredible" and "brilliant." Vice President Pence and first lady Melania Trump also attended.

"Conan did a fantastic job and we're very honored to have Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award," Trump said.

It turns out running for president isn't typically a good investment.

Only one major self-funding candidate — Donald Trump — has ever won the Oval Office. Still, some Democratic hopefuls are trying.

The primary already features two wealthy businessmen almost entirely self-funding their campaigns: Tom Steyer and John Delaney. Another billionaire, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is looking at jumping into the race. Nonetheless, history shows that whether running for the White House or another office, candidates bankrolling their own bids are rarely successful.

As the Founding Fathers were drafting the U.S. Constitution, they were explicitly trying to avoid a repeat of the situation they had just fought a war to free themselves from — a ruler with unchecked power.

While they wrote a bare minimum about impeachment in the country's essential governing document, other writings from the time provide rich insights about their intentions.

More than a week after Election Day, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is conceding the Kentucky gubernatorial election to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear after a recanvass failed to significantly change the close final margin.

"We are going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people," Bevin said at an afternoon news conference.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is officially joining the 2020 Democratic presidential race less than three months before voters start casting ballots.

"I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field. They bring a richness of ideas and experiences and depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat. But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country," Patrick said in an announcement video published online Thursday morning.

Ten Democratic candidates will debate next week in the fifth primary face-off, which has increasing importance, with presidential hopefuls set to face voters in fewer than three months.

With the House set to begin public hearings Wednesday for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the man leading the Democrats' investigation says he already sees several potential impeachable offenses Trump has committed, including bribery.

Former South Carolina Gov. and Rep. Mark Sanford has ended his long-shot Republican primary challenge to President Trump.

Sanford announced he was withdrawing Tuesday at a news conference in New Hampshire, the early primary state he had made the focus of his struggling White House bid.

Sanford blamed the impeachment inquiry against Trump for making it harder to make policy-based arguments against the president, including deficit reduction and slashing government spending.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley is endorsing her home-state senator Elizabeth Warren for president, breaking with her other high-profile freshmen female colleagues who have come to be known as "the squad."

Voters in four states head to the polls on Tuesday for general statewide elections of note. These off-year contests may not be as high profile as the 2020 presidential and congressional elections will be a year from now, but they could offer some important hints on how voters are feeling about President Trump, impeachment, guns and more.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke ended his presidential campaign on Friday after struggling to translate the energy from his 2018 Senate bid into a successful White House campaign.

"Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America," O'Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan has ended his struggling bid for the Democratic presidential nomination after failing to qualify for the past two primary debates.

"I got into this race in April to really give voice to the forgotten people of our country. I look forward to continuing that fight," Ryan said Thursday in a tweet.

President Trump is chastising Republicans for not sufficiently having his back as he tries to weather an impeachment inquiry from Democrats.

"Republicans have to get tougher and fight," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday. "We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight because the Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election."

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Trump's impeachment and removal from office, on Wednesday.

Up until now, Biden had reserved judgment, saying he supported the House's impeachment inquiry and wanted to see what the facts showed.

But in a campaign speech in Rochester, N.H., Biden was unequivocal, saying that "to preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, [Trump] should be impeached."

Biden said the case was already clear before the public.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

The White House will not participate in Congress' ongoing impeachment inquiry, it said Tuesday, stepping up a political and legal standoff between the executive and legislative branches of government.

In a blistering eight-page letter to Democratic congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House counsel Pat Cipollone repeatedly mocked the Democrats' process.

A dozen candidates have qualified for the fourth Democratic presidential debate. They will appear together on one night, making the October faceoff the most crowded yet.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump said Wednesday that the push for his impeachment is a "hoax," again denying any wrongdoing during a July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during which he pushed for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival.

"No push, no pressure, no nothing — it's all a hoax, folks. It's all a big hoax," Trump said.

In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his campaign for president on Friday morning, acknowledging that he was unable to successfully pitch his progressive ideas to the Democratic electorate.

"I feel like I have contributed all I can to this primary election. It's clearly not my time, so I'm going to end my presidential campaign," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

De Blasio's exit makes him the sixth candidate to drop out of the field, bringing the total number of Democrats seeking the nomination to 19.

Former wives and partners of servicemen who survived domestic abuse told their harrowing stories before the House Armed Services military preparedness subcommittee as they pressed for more attention to and resources for the growing problem within the armed forces.

"We are here today because domestic violence has become a forgotten crisis in our military," chairwoman Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said in her opening remarks before the military preparedness subcommittee.

The Sept. 12 Democratic debate stage is set with just 10 candidates, ensuring there will be a one-night event in which the front-runners will finally come face to face.

The massive Democratic presidential field could begin its inevitable reduction this week with only half of the current candidates set to make the cut for next month's debate.

The controversial decision will please many party stalwarts who worry that the often dizzying number of Democrats seeking the nomination could endanger their chances of defeating President Trump.

Looking around the inaugural meeting of the Fort Bend County Young Democrats, there's clear evidence that the face of Texas is changing.

About 60 young adults — almost all minorities — are crammed into a side room of a bubble tea cafe in the Houston suburbs on a steamy August evening. As local and congressional candidates make their pitch to the new group, there are roaring cheers — and a sense of optimism that wasn't here even a decade ago.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is now the 10th Democrat to qualify for next month's Democratic primary debate.

Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who later became a part of President Obama's Cabinet, met the final benchmark on Tuesday after a CNN poll showed him at 2%, giving him the requisite four surveys where he hit that threshold. He had previously already attained the required 130,000 unique donors from 20 states.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is the ninth Democrat to qualify for September's next presidential primary debates.

Yang crossed the threshold on Thursday after a Monmouth poll in Iowa put him at 2% support. He had previously hit the donor requirements of 130,000 unique donors from 20 different states. His campaign had said he qualified outright based on an earlier poll, but the Democratic National Committee said it wouldn't count that poll.

Retirements have begun mounting for House Republicans more than a year ahead of the 2020 elections, a sign that optimism about flipping back control of the chamber is lacking.

A few are aging politicians, and several would have faced difficult reelection campaigns anyway. But some retirement decisions highlight that the Republican conference is sorely lacking in both gender and racial diversity.

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