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.

Updated at 11:27 a.m. ET

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he will appoint GOP Rep. Martha McSally to the Senate to fill the seat of the late Sen. John McCain.

The move comes after Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, who had been a temporary replacement after McCain's death in August, announced last week he would step down at the end of the year.

Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander, one of the few pragmatic dealmakers left on Capitol Hill, is the first senator to announce he won't run for re-election in 2020.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday evening that Mick Mulvaney, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the acting White House chief of staff.

It's unclear how long Mulvaney will serve in the role, succeeding outgoing chief of staff John Kelly. Trump announced on Dec. 8 that Kelly would leave at the end of the year.

Arizona will soon have another new senator, with Republican Jon Kyl — who accepted a temporary appointment following GOP Sen. John McCain's death — stepping aside.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with Donald Trump more than a decade ago, has been ordered to pay him nearly $293,000 for attorneys' fees and another $1,000 in sanctions after her defamation suit was dismissed.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

House Republicans' campaign operation suffered a cyberattack during the 2018 midterm election cycle, it said Tuesday.

A spokesman working on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee acknowledged the compromise and said it was reported to authorities.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia are preparing to move forward with subpoenas for President Trump's businesses in their lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clauses.

Updated at 6:31 p.m. ET

The controversial judicial nomination of Thomas Farr has been derailed in the Senate.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — the lone African-American Republican in the Senate — sealed Farr's fate by saying on Thursday that he opposed the nomination. His opposition, along with Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake and all Senate Democrats, means there is not enough support for the nomination to go forward.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won the Senate runoff in Mississippi by a margin of 54-to-46 percent, according to the Associated Press, overcoming a series of missteps that brought the state's dark history of racism and violence to the forefront.

For nearly a decade, Nancy Pelosi was the GOP's not-so-secret weapon.

Tying a congressional candidate to the Democratic leader and raising the specter of another would-be speakership was a Republican's silver bullet for much of the past decade.

The final Senate race of 2018 was expected to be a sleepy affair — a formality, really, with a special election runoff in deep red Mississippi. Instead, the race has been upended in the final days thanks to multiple stumbles by the GOP nominee that have dredged up the state's history of racial violence.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

Mississippi was set for a fairly mundane midterm election runoff next week — deciding who would win the final undecided U.S. Senate seat in a state that easily elects Republicans, until a senator greeted a cattle rancher.

Democrat Stacey Abrams isn't backing down from her fight against what she calls voter suppression tactics and election mismanagement after losing the Georgia governor's race. In fact, Abrams said she experienced the problems in her state firsthand — after nearly being denied a ballot during early voting.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has defeated Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the Florida Senate race after a protracted and contentious recount.

Following both a machine and hand recount — mandated by law given the very tight margin of less than 0.25 percentage points — Scott continued to lead Nelson by more than 10,000 votes out of more than eight million votes cast.

"I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service," said Scott in a statement issued by his campaign.

Andrew Gillum ended his bid to become the first African-American governor of Florida on Saturday, conceding the race to his Republican rival, former Rep. Ron DeSantis.

"R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida," Gillum said in a Facebook video with his wife at his side. "This has been the journey of our lives."

Updated at 8:33 p.m. ET

Republican Brian Kemp will be the next governor of Georgia, with Democrat Stacey Abrams admitting Friday afternoon that there was no path to victory, following a bitter 10-day battle since Election Day.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has defeated Republican Martha McSally to win the Arizona Senate race, the Associated Press projected Monday evening.

With Sinema's victory to flip the open seat of retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, she becomes the first Democrat Arizona has elected to the Senate since 1988. She will not only be the state's first female senator but will also be the first openly bisexual senator in U.S. history.

Updated at 8:16 p.m. ET

As recounts are underway in Florida, a judge issued a warning Monday to "ramp down the rhetoric" as top Republicans — including President Trump — are casting doubt on the process.

The next Congress is going to be missing some familiar faces. Thanks to a mix of retirements and defeats on Tuesday, some high-profile lawmakers will soon be exiting Capitol Hill.

Some were longtime Democratic targets in the Senate that the GOP finally vanquished. Others were vocal Republican critics of President Trump who chose not to run for re-election. Others simply thought it was time to hang it up — including the outgoing speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Here are 10 of the most notable politicians making their exit from Washington:

President Trump claimed some personal victories in the 2018 midterm results, and as he ticked them off at a news conference on Wednesday he might as well have been walking through the Electoral College map for 2020.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has won re-election in Texas, the AP projects, beating back a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke smashed fundraising records, raising more than $60 million for his bid, and generated lots of grassroots enthusiasm and national attention with his unconventional campaign. And while Democrats have argued for years that Texas was primed to turn blue with its growing Hispanic population, the GOP lean of the state was ultimately too much for O'Rourke to overcome.

There are dozens of competitive races across the country that will determine control of the House, Senate and governors' seats. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take back the House, Democrats need a net gain of two seats to flip the Senate and Democrats are expected to slice into Republicans' 33-16 advantage in governors' seats.

Democrats appear confident they'll take back the House majority next Tuesday — a fact top Republican strategists all but concede privately less than a week before Election Day.

"Up until today I would have said if the election was held today we would win. Now I'm saying we will win," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday night on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

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The Florida and Georgia races for governor — two of the most closely watched in the country — have been roiled in the past 24 hours by more scrutiny over alleged voter suppression, racist ads and newly ignited controversies over the Confederate flag and allegations of corruption involving the hit musical Hamilton.

The battle for the Senate is being fought on Republican-friendly turf, and with three weeks until Election Day the GOP is increasingly optimistic that the chamber will remain in the party's grasp.

Fears that a fiery Democratic opposition could turn the map upside down have abated some, now that the GOP base is more tuned in following the confirmation fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump by adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed the president had defamed her earlier this year on Twitter.

The lawsuit was filed over a tweet Trump sent in April suggesting Daniels was lying about being threatened in 2011 not to go public with her story of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

President Trump warned at his rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night that if his party loses in November's midterm elections, the "radical Democrat mob" will take away everything he has achieved since his election, while encouraging crime and socialism.

It was an echo of something he's been saying a lot lately, including at rallies in Iowa and Kansas in recent days and on Twitter — a line that Republicans have been quick to seize upon as they try to sustain a newly-enthused GOP base in the wake of the divisive confirmation battle for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Updated at 9:24 p.m. ET

During a rare press conference Wednesday, President Trump sent mixed messages about the fate of his embattled Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

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