Liz Halloran

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.

Halloran came to NPR from US News & World Report, where she followed politics and the 2008 presidential election. Before the political follies, Halloran covered the Supreme Court during its historic transition — from Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death, to the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation battles. She also tracked the media and wrote special reports on topics ranging from the death penalty and illegal immigration, to abortion rights and the aftermath of the Amish schoolgirl murders.

Before joining the magazine, Halloran was a senior reporter in the Hartford Courant's Washington bureau. She followed Sen. Joe Lieberman on his ground-breaking vice presidential run in 2000, as the first Jewish American on a national ticket, wrote about the media and the environment and covered post-9/11 Washington. Previously, Halloran, a Minnesota native, worked for The Courant in Hartford. There, she was a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning team for spot news in 1999, and was honored by the New England Associated Press for her stories on the Kosovo refugee crisis.

She also worked for the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn., and as a cub reporter and paper delivery girl for her hometown weekly, the Jackson County Pilot.

Pages

2:12pm

Sat May 17, 2014
It's All Politics

High On Tea Party Hit List, Idaho Congressman Looks To Hold On

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 11:51 am

Idaho Republican House candidate Bryan Smith is trying to unseat eight-term GOP Rep. Mike Simpson. The May 20 primary is viewed as a contest of Tea Party vs. establishment.
Kim Raff AP

Mike Simpson has been atop the Tea Party hit list for much of this election year.

And Tuesday's primary contest between the Idaho Republican congressman and Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith had been billed as a big one in a string of GOP primary mashups that would signal the sway of the Tea Party faction — or the ability of traditional conservatives like Simpson to fight back in a deep red state.

"It's been a real-deal campaign here in Idaho," says Skip Smyser, the conservative founder of Boise-based government relations firm Lobby Idaho.

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2:50pm

Thu May 15, 2014
It's All Politics

In Idaho, A Debate Like You've Never Seen Before

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 5:45 pm

The four candidates for Idaho governor (left) at Wednesday's GOP gubernatorial debate. The debate was held at Idaho Public Television studios.
YouTube

Wednesday's GOP gubernatorial primary debate in Idaho should carry a disclaimer: NOT a Saturday Night Live skit.

It was that amazing.

And it had nothing to do with the ongoing conflict between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment.

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6:52am

Tue May 13, 2014
It's All Politics

In Caustic Nebraska Senate Race, GOP Battle Lines Are Blurred

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 5:02 pm

Republicans Shane Osborn (right) and Ben Sasse are slugging it out for the GOP Senate nomination in Nebraska, which holds its primary Tuesday.
Nati Harnik AP

Conservative money has poured into Nebraska's Republican Senate primary race.

Big GOP names like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are on opposite sides.

And the attack ads have been brutal — including one that took a page directly from the Swift-boating of John Kerry's military record during his 2004 presidential run.

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5:58am

Sat May 10, 2014
It's All Politics

The Congresswoman Whose Husband Called Her Home

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 8:06 am

Rep. Coya Knutson (D-Minn.), is shown shopping in a supermarket in 1955 following her demand to know why her fellow housewives remain saddled with high grocery bills while farm income continues to drop.
Maurice Johnson Bettmann/Corbis

Fifty-six years ago this weekend, newspapers across the nation told a sad tale of a family seemingly imploding.

At the center of the story was Coya Knutson, the opera-singing daughter of a Norwegian farmer, and the first woman from Minnesota elected to Congress.

Voted in on her own merits, not appointed to keep a late husband's seat warm for a successor, the trailblazing mother could only watch as vengeful party rivals, a manufactured scandal, and a feckless, alcoholic husband combined to sabotage her career.

It all came to a head on the eve of Mother's Day 1958.

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1:47pm

Wed May 7, 2014
It's All Politics

She's A Doctor, Mom, and Republican - But Conservative Enough?

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 3:04 am

Oregon Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby, right, talks to supporter Marvin Hausman in Lake Oswego, Ore. Wehby has drawn national attention and money in her effort to win her party's nomination.
Jonathan J. Cooper AP

Monica Wehby is the Senate candidate Republicans have been waiting for: a camera-ready pediatric neurosurgeon, mother of four, in a party that desperately needs to elect more women.

Make that a candidate some Republicans have been waiting for.

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8:39am

Tue May 6, 2014
It's All Politics

This Could Be The Year Iowa Sends Its First Woman To Congress

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 1:55 pm

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, shown during a recent debate with her GOP primary opponents, is attempting to become the first female Republican to win her party's nomination to run for U.S. Senate in the Hawkeye State.
Charlie Neibergall AP

In its 168 years, Iowa has never elected a woman to Congress or picked one as its governor.

For many residents who pride themselves on a progressive civil rights history that predates statehood, that political reality has become an exasperating distinction shared with only one other state — Mississippi.

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4:53pm

Mon April 28, 2014
It's All Politics

Back From Recess, Congress Opens With Scandal

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:11 pm

Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island arrives for a news conference outside a courthouse in New York on Monday after being indicted on federal charges following a two-year investigation.
Seth Wenig AP

A former FBI agent turned congressman from New York gets indicted on charges ranging from evading taxes and employing undocumented workers to lying under oath while a member of the U.S. House.

A married congressman from Louisiana announces he won't run again, just weeks after being caught on video in a passionate clutch with a married staffer.

And this in the wake of the recent resignation of former GOP Rep. Trey Radel of Florida, busted for attempting to buy cocaine in the nation's capital.

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12:30pm

Wed April 23, 2014
It's All Politics

A Path Out Of Prison For Low-Level, Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:44 pm

The new guidelines are part of the Obama administration's effort to address long mandatory minimum sentences. Antwain Black (left) was released early after sentencing laws were first eased in 2010.
Seth Perlman AP

Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

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12:35pm

Mon April 21, 2014
It's All Politics

Rand Paul Bids To Loosen Democratic Hold On African-American Vote

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky testified last year in favor of revamping the nation's mandatory federal minimum sentencing laws.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

For more than a year, GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been staking out positions on issues that resonate in the black community, including school choice and prison sentencing reform. And he's been showing up in some unexpected — for a Republican — venues, including historically black colleges.

It's stirred an unusual degree of curiosity about the freshman Kentucky senator — and 2016 GOP presidential prospect — among the Democratic Party's most reliable voting bloc.

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12:20pm

Mon April 21, 2014
It's All Politics

Obama Seeks Wider Authority To Release Drug Offenders

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 4:17 pm

President Obama signs the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, as Attorney General Eric Holder and a bipartisan group of senators look on.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Obama administration is formulating new rules that would give it, and the president, far more latitude to pardon or reduce the sentences of thousands of drug offenders serving long federal prison sentences.

The move comes amid a broad national reconsideration of mandatory minimum sentences approved by Congress in 1986, when America's big cities were in the grip of a crack cocaine-fueled crime wave.

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5:49pm

Wed April 16, 2014
It's All Politics

Bloomberg Seeks To Alter Gun Debate With $50 Million, And Moms

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:54 pm

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he plans to spend $50 million this year on field operations to support candidates in favor of gun safety laws.
Seth Wenig AP

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's plan to invest $50 million in what he describes as a mom-driven grass-roots effort to support pro-gun-safety candidates grabbed headlines Wednesday, and energized gun control activists.

The commitment, the former New York City mayor says, aims to beat back the profound political influence of the National Rifle Association in 15 targeted states — to "make them afraid of us," he told NBC's Today show.

"This is what the American public wants," Bloomberg said, referring to his group's intended focus on gun-purchase background checks.

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10:06am

Tue April 15, 2014
It's All Politics

Backlash Over State Party's Progressive Agenda May Hobble Udall

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:35 am

Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner after he announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate in March. He's challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Chris Schneider AP

Colorado Democrat Mark Udall's bid for a second term has become the most unexpectedly competitive U.S. Senate race in the nation this year — and for unexpected reasons.

Yes, Udall, 63, like other vulnerable Democrats, is already being pummeled by big-money conservative groups for his support of President Obama's health care legislation.

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4:48pm

Wed April 9, 2014
It's All Politics

'Kissing Congressman' Video Puts Scandal In Unusual Focus

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:16 pm

Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., in happier days with his wife, Kelly, and House Speaker John Boehner, who swore in the new congressman last year.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister has made at least one smart move: He concluded that finding out who may have leaked a security video that captures him in a torrid embrace and lip lock with a woman (not his wife) won't actually erase said video.

One day after the freshman congressman — who ran last year as Christian conservative — indicated he planned to ask GOP House Speaker John Boehner to request an FBI investigation into the leak, he reversed course.

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3:05pm

Fri April 4, 2014
It's All Politics

Congressman's Lament: $174,000 Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:00 pm

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., joins other members of the House of Representatives at a closed-door intelligence briefing on Syria in September.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation's capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the "largest economic entity in the world" — are underpaid.

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4:14pm

Thu April 3, 2014
It's All Politics

Who's Who In Senate-CIA Report Showdown

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:27 pm

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks after a closed-door meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill. The panel voted to approve declassifying part of a report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects.
Molly Riley AP

The world could soon get its first official look at the CIA's post-Sept. 11 interrogation and detention activities now that the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to make public a blockbuster report about the agency's secret program.

The Senate panel's move to declassify key parts of the 6,300-page document comes just weeks after a rancorous battle erupted between the committee's Democratic chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and the CIA over allegations the agency spied on members through their computers.

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3:06pm

Tue April 1, 2014
It's All Politics

Conservative Media Watchdog: Univision, Telemundo Favor Liberals

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:28 pm

President Obama participates in a 2012 town hall hosted by Univision with news anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas. A conservative media watchdog group says the Spanish-speaking network is biased in favor of Obama and liberals.
Carolyn Kaster AP

The nation's increasingly powerful Spanish-language television networks show a distinct liberal bias in covering domestic news, a conservative media watchdog group asserted Tuesday.

The Media Research Center says that its four-month analysis of weekday evening newscasts aired on Univision and Telemundo showed that the networks' domestic coverage was "dominated by partisans" from the left.

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6:07pm

Mon March 31, 2014
It's All Politics

No Break From Politics On Obamacare Deadline Day

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:42 pm

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who led state opposition to the federal Affordable Care Act, met with reporters in Tallahassee after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the law. Scott, a Republican, has made his opposition central to his re-election campaign.
Steve Cannon AP

The sign-up period for 2014 individual insurance coverage required under President Obama's Affordable Care Act expires Monday, much as it began.

There were HealthCare.gov website snafus, White House pleas for enrollees, and the need for "navigators" to help those enrollees work their way through the often-balky federal insurance exchange site. (Which was temporarily out of service twice by midafternoon Monday.)

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4:27pm

Tue March 25, 2014
It's All Politics

Senate Slugfest Highlights Hawaii's Changing Political Landscape

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:28 pm

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii says the way her competitor's allies have made age an issue in her run for U.S. Senate is insulting to voters.
Oskar Garcia AP

It says something about the changing politics of Hawaii that Democratic powerhouse Daniel Inouye's deathbed pick of a successor was ignored by his own party.

The question is what.

The December 2012 death of the long-serving senator — and one of the state's founding fathers — has exposed cracks in Hawaii's solidly Democratic façade, leading to a contentious Senate primary that has placed age, gender and ethnicity at center stage.

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1:43pm

Tue March 18, 2014
It's All Politics

Top Democrat Insists Party Will Hold Senate — But Turnout Is Key

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks to party members during their meeting last summer in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ross D. Franklin AP

As increasingly confident Republican leaders predict big midterm election gains, the head of Democratic National Committee put on her game face Tuesday and insisted the party will hold control of the Senate.

The Democrats' grass-roots organization, said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and what she characterized as the GOP's continuing alienation of women, minority, LGBT and middle-class voters, bodes well for her party this fall.

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5:57pm

Mon March 17, 2014
It's All Politics

One Year After Party 'Autopsy,' GOP Touts Progress

Immigration supporters gather during a rally for citizenship on Capitol Hill last year.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

One year ago, a frank Republican Party assessment of why it came up short in the 2012 presidential election included a stark recommendation.

Embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform, the post-mortem authors urged, or get used to a party whose appeal "will continue to shrink to its core constituents only."

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7:27pm

Fri March 14, 2014
It's All Politics

Hispanic Activists Vow To Keep Pressing White House Over Deportations

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 4:52 pm

Demonstrators protest the Obama administration's deportation policies in Phoenix last year.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Five months before his 2012 re-election, President Obama announced that his administration would stop deportations of more than a half-million young adults, often referred to as "Dreamers," brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Latinos subsequently turned out to vote in record numbers that fall. More than 70 percent marked their ballots for Obama — helping him win the popular vote and triumph in key battleground states.

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3:32pm

Thu March 13, 2014
It's All Politics

New Climate For Drug Sentencing, Guidelines Expected To Change

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:27 pm

In remarks last year to the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed what he characterized as harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes.
Eric Risberg AP

The nation's highest law enforcement official Thursday endorsed the "All Drugs Minus Two" proposal — as it's known by prison sentencing reformers — to change the way drug crime sentences are handed down.

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2:56pm

Wed March 12, 2014
It's All Politics

Obama's Overtime Move Designed To Excite Base, Swing Voters

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 10:42 am

President Obama speaks about raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour during an event last week in New Britain, Conn. The effort to raise wages is seen as part of his State of the Union promise of a "year of action."
Stephan Savoia AP

President Obama's planned move to expand the pool of the nation's employees covered by overtime pay laws was hailed Wednesday by Democrats as key to their midterm election strategy.

And it was just as predictably criticized by conservatives as an overreach by a president who recently characterized income inequality as the "defining challenge of our time."

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7:37am

Tue March 11, 2014
It's All Politics

Florida Election Tests Midterm Messaging

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:50 pm

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Alex Sink, shown working the phone in Clearwater on Nov. 23, supports the Affordable Care Act but has said she would like to see it improved.
Steve Nesius AP

There's a congressional election in Florida on Tuesday that's worth watching — even if you don't live in the Tampa Bay-area district where it's taking place.

It's not because the winner of the neck-and-neck special election between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly will affect the GOP's stranglehold on the U.S. House this cycle. It won't.

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11:18am

Thu March 6, 2014
It's All Politics

Race To Stop 'Revenge Porn' Raises Free Speech Worries

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:42 pm

Annmarie Chiarini, whose ex-boyfriend posted private nude photos of her online, has emerged as a leading voice in the movement to pass legislation that criminalizes "revenge porn."
Patrick Semansky AP

It's called "revenge porn" — the posting of nude or sexually explicit photos or videos online to degrade or harass someone, usually a former spouse or lover.

And states from Arizona to New York are racing to make it a crime.

It's a development that has heartened privacy advocates but alarmed free speech watchdogs who see constitutional peril in many bills being considered.

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10:20am

Tue March 4, 2014
It's All Politics

The 'Blue-ing' Of Texas Is Unlikely To Start At The Top

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:06 pm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is expected to easily win his primary Tuesday, and likely keep the office in GOP hands come November.
Ron Jenkins MCT /Landov

The process of electing a new governor in Texas begins in earnest Tuesday, when Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are expected to easily dispatch their primary opponents and move on to the Nov. 4 battle.

As if they hadn't already.

Both Abbott, 56, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court judge, and Davis, 50, a state senator and former Fort Worth City Council member, have been amassing money and press since at least last fall.

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4:18pm

Fri February 28, 2014
It's All Politics

Another Bush Takes Aim At Texas Office And Family Dynasty

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 7:41 pm

George P. Bush passes a portrait of his grandfather George H.W. Bush at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin. Bush, the son of a governor and the nephew and grandson of two presidents, is running for Texas land commissioner.
Eric Gay AP

George Prescott Bush.

Ring a bell?

It should, and if it doesn't, it soon will. George P. Bush, 37, is a great-grandson of a late U.S. senator from Connecticut; a grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents; and the eldest son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who just may run for president himself in 2016.

On Tuesday, George P., referred to by some as the "Hispanic George Bush" because of his mother's Mexican heritage, will take his generation's first crack at the family business when he runs in a statewide Republican primary for Texas land commissioner.

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6:31pm

Wed February 26, 2014
It's All Politics

Debbie Dingell Poised To Keep U.S. House Seat In The Family

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 8:22 pm

Debbie Dingell with Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during a 2008 campaign event in Flint, Mich. Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run for her husband's House seat.
Alex Brandon AP

Debbie Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run to succeed her husband, John Jr., for the southeast Michigan congressional seat that's been in the family since John Sr. was elected in 1933.

Though several news outlets reported her intentions, former Michigan state legislator Bill Ballenger of InsideMichiganPolitics.com retained a kernel of skepticism.

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10:52am

Wed February 26, 2014
It's All Politics

Lobbyists Amp Up Efforts To Sell Washington On E-Cigarettes

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:57 pm

Blair Roberts, a 22-year-old sales associate at Colorado E-Smokes, "vapes" with an electronic cigarette in the Aurora, Colo., store. In the absence of federal rules, Colorado is among states that considered its own age requirements for the nicotine-delivery devices.
Ed Andrieski AP

In a scene from the new season of the popular Netflix political drama House of Cards, the elegant Claire Underwood catches her soon-to-be vice president husband puffing an e-cigarette.

"You're cheating," she says, referring to their efforts to quit smoking.

"No, I'm not," Congressman Francis Underwood replies. "It's vapor ... addiction without the consequences."

A Washington-based drama with an implicit endorsement of "vaping" — the practice of partaking in nicotine without burning tobacco?

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4:17pm

Tue February 18, 2014
It's All Politics

House Candidates Outpace Senate Contenders In Money Haul

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:48 pm

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington in October 2013, as the court heard arguments on campaign finance.
Susan Walsh AP

With 435 seats up for grabs every two years, House candidates typically raise more money overall than those running for the Senate, where only about one-third of the chamber's 100 seats are contested every two years.

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