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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 11:36 p.m.

All eyes were on billionaire businessman Donald Trump on Thursday night — and he didn't disappoint.

On the very first question, Trump refused to promise to back the eventual GOP nominee — unless it's him — and wouldn't rule out launching a third-party bid. He jabbed at moderator Megyn Kelly when asked about his comments on women, called reporters "a very dishonest lot," declared that "our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid," and was unapologetic about his wealth and businesses.

Updated at 7:40 p.m.

The biggest punches thrown at the first GOP presidential debate of the evening were at candidates not on the consolation debate stage.

Take heart if you're sick of money in politics and the undue influence of political parties.

On Tuesday evening, a Mississippi truck driver won the Democratic nomination for governor without spending a cent, running a TV ad or even launching a website.

Robert Gray was the surprise winner to challenge Republican Gov. Phil Bryant this fall, upsetting party favorite Vicki Slater, a trial lawyer, and OB-GYN Valerie Adream Smartt Short.

Gray won with just over 50 percent of the vote, even avoiding a runoff. He beat Slater, his next closest opponent, by 20 points.

Jeb Bush is trying to be a straight-talking candidate. He even has a new hashtag — #JebNoFilter — and videos of him expounding on things from hoodies to Sharknado 3.

But that #NoFilter style is getting him in trouble on the GOP campaign trail.

On Tuesday, Bush had the third major gaffe of his campaign so far. Speaking to a Southern Baptist gathering in Nashville, Tenn., Bush was talking about defunding Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos that allegedly show the sale of fetal tissue after abortions.

This post was updated at 7:15 p.m.

The final polls are in and the stage is set for Thursday night's first Republican presidential debate.

Those who made the cut, according to Fox News: businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls got their first chance to face-off this week — just not really against each other.

The two-hour long rapid-fire interviews at the "Voters First Forum" in at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., had the feel of a speed-dating session as the 14 Republicans in attendance fired off their talking points in what amounted to abbreviated stump speeches, hoping voters would want a second date.

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on Fox News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."

It's the end of the month, and that means another email dump from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department. On Friday evening, more than 1,300 messages from Clinton's controversial private server were released to the public.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. on July 30 with comment from Trump's campaign.

Donald Trump may be good at building things — hotels, wineries, golf courses — but his biggest challenge may be to create a lasting campaign for president.

Despite — or perhaps because of — his bluster and controversial comments, Trump is leading in national and many early state polls. But longtime White House campaign veterans are skeptical he has an organization built for the long haul.

Sitting vice presidents are usually seen as political heirs to the White House. But not this year.

With Hillary Clinton surging to the front of the Democratic field and the sudden rise of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden has largely been an afterthought.

The controversy over the Confederate battle flag has cast a pall over the South Carolina GOP primary for decades.

Now, after the flag was finally removed from the state House grounds last month, Republicans are hoping the political football that's long tripped up White House hopefuls is gone.

But the bipartisan accord in the wake of the murder of nine African-Americans at a Charleston church hasn't translated to all GOP voters in the first-in-the-South primary, many of whom say the flag should have been left flying.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is taking his frustrations with Donald Trump out on his old cellphone after the billionaire businessman was responsible for an influx of calls.

This post has been updated to note that Kasich officially announced he's running.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich officially became the 16th candidate to officially enter the crowded race for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday.

Donald Trump quickly earned the scorn of many veterans' groups this weekend with his controversial comments about Sen. John McCain's military service.

Scorching temperatures near the triple digits weren't driving away the 325 people gathered to hear Scott Walker speak at a Lexington, S.C., barbecue joint Wednesday.

Packed under an open-air porch with fans that were hardly helping, the heat didn't seem to affect the enthusiasm for the Wisconsin governor on just his second day as an announced presidential candidate — and it's the type of excitement he'll need to generate to win the important South Carolina GOP primary.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ended a probe into Scott Walker's 2012 recall election campaign, sparing the Wisconsin governor a political headache just as he launches his bid for the White House.

The court found that Walker's campaign had not illegally collaborated with outside conservative groups three years ago when the governor faced a recall election following labor backlash over his push to weaken public sector unions.

Scott Walker's path to the presidency runs straight through Iowa — whether he likes it or not.

Ever since an electrifying January speech in the Hawkeye State, the Wisconsin governor has remained the tenuous front-runner in Iowa. He has topped nearly every poll, he has had strong presences at early cattle calls, and his post-announcement tour will be capped by him crisscrossing the state for 11 stops in three days in a Winnebago.

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

This week, we bring you five reads.

From Jessica Taylor, NPR political reporter

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he's in and plans to make an official announcement the first week in August.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is telegraphing that it is "worried" about an insurgent Bernie Sanders. But should it be?

"We are worried about him, sure," Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don't think that will diminish."

Hillary Clinton worked to paint herself as honest and trustworthy in her first national television interview of the 2016 campaign, blaming Republicans for damaging questions about her time at the State Department and her family's charitable foundation.

"This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years," the Democratic presidential hopeful told CNN's Brianna Keilar in Iowa, noting that she's been "subjected to the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right."

Late Tuesday evening the State Department released almost 2,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. While there was no "smoking gun" regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the latest round of emails gives a look at who she was emailing with, more insight into her daily activities at State — and some daily struggles.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns on Tuesday, showing that his personal wealth has skyrocketed since he left the Florida governor's office in 2007.

This post has been updated to reflect Christie officially getting in the race for president.

The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to uphold the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission has some hoping their model could now pave the way for other states to adopt a less partisan way of drawing congressional lines.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz intends to make his opposition to the Supreme Court's decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide "front and center" in his presidential campaign.

In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep on Sunday in New York City, the GOP presidential hopeful doubled down on his belief that the court had overstepped its bounds in both the marriage decision and in upholding Obamacare. And as a result, Cruz said, the justices should be subject to elections and lose their lifetime appointments.

On the final day of the Supreme Court's term on Monday, they will issue a ruling that could affect as many as one-third of congressional districts — possibly dramatically remaking the partisan makeup of the next Congress ahead of the 2016 elections.

Since entering the race for president, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has been on the rise against Hillary Clinton, staking out a position as a liberal alternative to the Democratic front-runner.

In the wake of last week's Charleston, S.C., church shootings, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explained his competing concerns between gun rights and gun safety.

"I think guns and gun control is an issue that needs to be discussed," Sanders told NPR's David Greene in an interview airing on Thursday's Morning Edition. "Let me add to that, I think that urban America has got to respect what rural America is about, where 99 percent of the people in my state who hunt are law abiding people."

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