Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is known for being one of the most disliked men in Washington. As he tries to win over voters, his wife Heidi Cruz is trying to vouch for his character and show people that he has a softer side.

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The presidential primary has now reached the final two-week stretch before Iowans meet to caucus on Feb. 1, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is spending some of those precious final days making a swing through New Hampshire.

Unlike Iowa, where Cruz is neck and neck with Donald Trump, New Hampshire is a state where Trump dominates, leading the rest of the pack by nearly 20 points in recent polls.

But Cruz said he believes the campaign is entering a "different phase," where voters will take a closer look at candidates' records — particularly Trump's.

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New Hampshire Republicans have a track record of picking presidential candidates who often go on to win their party's nomination. Usually, that means bolstering establishment candidates. But this year, billionaire Donald Trump is polling far ahead of the rest of the pack. That leaves his rivals fighting amongst themselves in the hope that one of them can take down Trump in the state that holds the first primary.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has a lot of qualities her party needs: She's a rising star who is young, female and the daughter of Indian immigrants.

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Some people celebrated the holiday last night by attending a political rally for a presidential candidate.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

BERNIE SANDERS: Happy New Year.

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South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is playing an increasingly important role in his state's crucial Republican primary. He's also playing an important role in his party, as the only black Republican in the Senate at a time when the GOP is struggling to win minority support.

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Four years ago, libertarians were an important force in the Republican presidential race. In the campaign for the 2012 nomination, Ron Paul was routinely drawing big crowds on college campuses.

There's a fierce political debate underway about how the U.S. should respond to refugees fleeing terror.

Presidential candidates have weighed in, with many Republicans calling for keeping refugees from Syria, or other countries with an ISIS presence, out of the U.S.

There will be a few empty seats around one Thanksgiving table this year: Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are among those skipping Friday's Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines. The event is hosted by the conservative Christian group the Family Leader. President Bob Vander Plaats is seen as an evangelical kingmaker in Iowa.

As many leading conservatives call for stopping Syrian refugees from entering the United States, several evangelical Christian organizations are pushing back.

Since last week's attacks in Paris, at least 30 governors in this country, mostly Republicans, have called for keeping Syrian refugees out of the U.S.

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