Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Florida Phoenix. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Battleground states count mail ballots, with Biden just shy of votes to clinch presidency

By: - November 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — Two days after Election Day, the nation waited for vote-counting to finish in several critical states, where the tallying of mail ballots has left Democrat Joe Biden just short of the votes needed to become the next president. Thursday’s updated totals could push Biden beyond the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory […]

The fight for the presidency comes down to millions of uncounted mail ballots in battleground states

By: - November 4, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump prematurely declared victory early Wednesday morning, but the outcome of a razor-thin presidential contest actually depends on key battleground states that are trying to finish tallying millions of remaining mail ballots. Here are some questions—and answers—about what’s going on in those states: Why is the counting process slow? It’s taking […]

U.S. Justice Department to send staff to monitor polling places in 18 states, including FL

By: - November 2, 2020

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Justice will have staffers on the ground in 44 counties and cities across 18 states on Election Day, monitoring for violations of federal voting-rights laws—fewer states than in 2016. The localities this year are in battlegrounds such as Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The Florida locations […]

american dollars

These are the top states for contributions to U.S. Senate candidates in 2020

By: and - October 30, 2020

1. South Carolina total: $174.4 million (R) Sen. Lindsey Graham raised $66.8 million; spent $60 million (D) Jamie Harrison raised $107.5 million, spent $104 million 2. Arizona total: $144.5 million (R) Sen. Martha McSally raised $55.7 million; spent $47.5 million (D) Mark Kelly raised $88.8 million; spent $77.8 million 3. Kentucky total: $143.5 million (R) Sen. Mitch […]

Former Pa. candidate for governor now at center of Trump administration vaccine push

By: - October 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — A central figure in the federal government’s coronavirus vaccine effort is a Pennsylvanian who, two years ago, was battling in the bruising 2018 Republican primary for governor. Paul Mango has been working in the federal government on health policy since his loss in that primary election. But his background in health care consulting and […]

Trump in final debate slams pandemic aid as a ‘big bailout’ for blue cities and states

By: - October 23, 2020

WASHINGTON — Asked during Thursday’s final presidential debate about why another round of economic relief hasn’t been approved to aid unemployed Americans and struggling local governments, President Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, pointed fingers at opposite ends of the U.S. Capitol. Trump blamed House Democrats for the stalemate over another coronavirus stimulus bill, […]

States struggle to draft COVID-19 vaccine plans while in the dark on details, funding

By: - October 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — Across the hundreds of pages of plans that state officials sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on distributing and tracking the yet-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines, there are more questions so far than answers on how exactly vaccine programs will be carried out. Yet states will be on the front lines […]

Just another working mom: GOP Sen. Blackburn leads the fan club for Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination

By: - October 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, one of two Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, used her time at the end of Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing to blast liberal critics for what she described as unfair treatment of female conservative nominees like Amy Coney Barrett. Blackburn, of Tennessee, who has been a staunch […]

Sen. Tillis returns to U.S. Capitol for Barrett confirmation hearing, doctor’s note in hand

By: - October 13, 2020

WASHINGTON—Wielding a doctor’s note clearing him to return to work, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis rejoined Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination hearing in person on Tuesday. Tillis had announced on Oct. 2 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and the North Carolina Republican participated virtually in the opening day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Tillis […]

U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings to plow ahead starting Monday, amid COVID-19 pandemic

By: - October 11, 2020

Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett will face the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee beginning Monday for what’s expected to be an unusual and contentious four days of hearings on her nomination for the Supreme Court. Democrats sought unsuccessfully to block those hearings, raising concerns about the short time frame before Election Day, the urgent need to […]

How the Chamber of Commerce learned to love House Democrats

By: - October 9, 2020

Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives two years ago by winning competitive districts like the Michigan seat of Rep. Haley Stevens and Nevada’s Susie Lee. Now Stevens and Lee are among nearly two dozen House Democrats to benefit in their reelection battles from rare U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsements, to the shock […]

Trump returns to the White House, still infected with coronavirus

By: - October 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday night departed Walter Reed National Military Hospital, where he had been treated for COVID-19, and arrived at the White House via the Marine One helicopter a short time later. According to the press pool, Trump emerged from Walter Reed and briefly stopped at the top of the hospital steps […]