Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead editor for politics and digital audience. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and has taught high-school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college-basketball junkie.

#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 four reads.

From Edith Chapin, NPR's acting executive editor:

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. That's exactly the argument Ohio Gov. John Kasich is making for why Republicans should choose him as their nominee in 2016.

"I will tell you that you can't be president if you don't win Ohio. That's not even a question," Kasich said Friday at a lunch with reporters in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. Kasich is thinking about running for president and is trying to determine whether he has a viable path.

It's been a tough week for a couple of candidates looking to break through on the presidential stage, namely Chris Christie and Martin O'Malley.

First, in New Jersey, David Wildstein, a former Christie ally and former Port Authority official, pleaded guity Friday to charges related to the "Bridgegate" scandal that closed several lanes of traffic to the George Washington Bridge over four days in 2013, ensnaring cars in massive backups.

Hillary Clinton is inauthentic, not transparent and will have trouble connecting with younger voters. And Republican economic theory is "bull- - - -."

That was essentially the argument Martin O'Malley made in an interview with NPR for why voters should choose him to be president over Clinton — the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination — as well as whichever candidate survives the Republican primaries.

Politics, power and more money than ever can create an environment ripe for corruption.

But which states are the most corrupt, and how is that even defined?

A poll out from Monmouth University asked Americans what they think are the most corrupt states. Overall, there was not much of a consensus, but New York rose to the top (with just 12 percent), followed by California, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.

This story was updated April 9 at 4 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more on Rand Paul's candidacy, joining us now is NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro. Welcome to the studio.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Thank you very much for having me.

The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics — until something or someone pushes them to the surface.

Pages