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.

Evangelical leaders are speaking out against Donald Trump's controversial call for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, criticized Trump's proposal on Monday, warning his "reckless, demagogic rhetoric" was an affront to religious freedom.

Call it an early Christmas present.

On Monday, the State Department released the largest batch yet of emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state that have been culled from the controversial private server she used.

Chris Christie was giving thanks this weekend for one of the biggest prizes in Granite State politics: the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

It's a notable get for the New Jersey governor, who has struggled to catch fire both nationally and in the early states. Christie had a good performance in this month's GOP debate despite dropping down to the undercard faceoff. He has gotten some momentum after that performance and has been playing up his national security experience in the aftermath of this month's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

Donald Trump continued to ratchet up his fiery rhetoric at a campaign event in Massachusetts Wednesday evening, spouting off at his GOP presidential rivals and touting his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

With the debate raging over how to handle Syrian refugees after last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, the billionaire has raised alarm bells that their migration could be a way for ISIS to infiltrate the U.S.

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.

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.

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.

#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:

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.

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.

Scott Walker may have never had a big "oops" moment like then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry did in 2012. Instead, the Wisconsin governor had lots of little "oopses" that contributed to his political downfall and eventual withdrawal from the GOP presidential race on Monday.

For as much promise as the two-term Midwestern governor showed, there were also noticeable missteps and alarming falters along the way. After a surge in Iowa at the beginning of the year, the nascent beginnings of a campaign seemed ill-prepared to get him up to speed or correct the troubling signs.

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended his campaign for president Monday, capping off a rapid rise and equally rapid fall in the GOP race.

At a brief 6 p.m. ET press conference in Madison, Wis., Walker said he was suspending his White House bid, in part, to stop the current GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

"Today I feel I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field," Walker said.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham dominated the undercard debate Wednesday night, with witty, passionate jabs against his fellow candidates and to argue for a robust national defense.

The gloves came off early against Donald Trump, and the hits were sustained against the GOP front-runner for most of Wednesday night's three-hour CNN debate.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio both memorably clashed with Trump — and emerged on top, likely improving their standing in the GOP race.

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders was preaching to a different kind of choir at Liberty University on Monday.

The Democratic presidential candidate tried to find common ground when talking about poverty and income inequality before the conservative Christian university student body.

When Donald Trump stepped to the podium in a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama, filled with 30,000 people there to hear him spread the gospel of Trump, he was overcome.

"Now I know how the great Billy Graham felt," Trump said last month.

Trump and Graham, the famed Baptist revival preacher and counselor to presidents, are not exactly cut from the same cloth. And yet, Trump is winning over Christian conservatives in the current Republican presidential primary.

Jeb Bush isn't pulling punches anymore when it comes to Donald Trump.

The former Florida governor has delicately danced around the billionaire businessman in the 2016 presidential primary so far. But the gloves came off this week when Bush called out Trump as a closet Democrat. He was trying to stunt Trump's rise while attempting to recover his own political mojo.

Donald Trump's summer of defying political gravity is continuing, despite predictions that various missteps would damage him. Instead, he has surged even more after his controversial Fox News debate performance.

But who exactly are the people backing the boisterous billionaire businessman? Some recent polls offer a glimpse into the Trump coalition, which may run strong within a certain section of the GOP but faces many hurdles when it comes to a general election.

The 2016 elections certainly aren't going to be a popularity contest.

In fact, the current crop of White House hopefuls is among the least liked by voters in recent history, with many starting out with very high negative ratings.

Usually such numbers spell doom for candidates, but it's a problem across the board for this field — and a marked change from previous presidential cycles.

"This is a time when people are unhappy with politicians and Washington, and people feel frustrated," said Iowa-based pollster J. Ann Selzer. "The mood of the nation is negative."

Donald Trump wants to "Make America Great Again!" But much of how he plans to do that is still a mystery.

In his nearly two months as an announced presidential candidate, the controversial and outspoken billionaire businessman has promised he would be the "the greatest jobs president God ever created."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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