Brakkton Booker | KERA News

Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He has spent most of the 2016 presidential cycle covering the race for the GOP nomination.

When he's not on the campaign trail, Booker produces pieces from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies for NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He previously served as the network's lead producer from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Booker served in a similar capacity during the 2012 presidential campaign producing pieces from the Republican and Democratic National conventions as well as from President Obama's reelection site in Chicago.

In the summer of 2014, Booker took a break from the politics grind to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and is was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not working he enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and playing golf.

A federal court says outlawing "ballot selfies," photos of people displaying their marked ballots, violates free speech rights.

The ruling clears the way for New Hampshire voters to post their ballot selfies during the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries early next year.

New Hampshire's ban went into effect September 2014 and made it illegal for anyone to post a photo of a marked ballot and share it on social media. The violation was punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will miss a lot of playing time after being "sucker-punched" by a teammate Tuesday. The fracas left him with two fractures in his jaw.

IK Enemkpali, a reserve linebacker who threw the punch, was promptly released by the team. Head coach Todd Bowles told reporters the altercation "had nothing to do with football."

Federal authorities have charged nine people in connection with an elaborate trading scheme involving hackers from Ukraine and securities traders in the U.S. that generated more than $30 million in illegal profits.

The federal indictments, unsealed today in New York and New Jersey, allege that hackers broke into three news wire companies to get early access to more than 150,000 confidential press releases — such as merger-and-acquisition announcements. This allowed the schemers to make trades on them before the deals became public.

Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles will begin recalling specialty license plates depicting the Confederate battle flag following a federal judge's decision last week to dissolve an injunction that barred officials from blocking such plates.

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a semi-submersible vessel carrying more than 16,000 pounds of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean in the largest bust of such a vessel in the agency's history.

The cocaine seized was worth more than $181 million. The Northern California-based Coast Guard crew also apprehended four suspected smugglers after a Navy aircraft detected the 40-foot, self-propelled vessel traveling approximately 200 miles south of Mexico last month.

A federal appeals court Wednesday struck down a voter ID law in Texas, saying it violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. A 5th Circuit three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the law does not equate to a "poll tax" but does discriminate against minority voters.

The 2011 law, considered one of the toughest in the country, was in effect during the midterm elections last year. It was one of a handful of voter ID laws enacted in Republican-governed states. The Texas law required voters to provide certain forms of identification before they could cast a ballot.

This post was updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

President Obama delivered a foreign policy speech today aimed at bolstering public support for the Iran nuclear deal. He also attempted to discredit criticism from those who claim the agreement was a mistake.

"I've had to make a lot of tough calls as president. But whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls," Obama said during his remarks at American University, located about 10 miles from Capitol Hill.

The relatives of 16 victims of the 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., reached a proposed $1.5 million settlement Monday against the estate of the shooter's mother.

According to the Hartford Courant, each family will receive $93,750 apiece from a homeowners insurance policy that Nancy Lanza had on a Newtown home she shared with her son Adam.

The lawsuits were filed by the families of 14 victims who died in the school shooting and two who survived.

Zimbabwean wildlife officials have accused a second American of killing a lion during an illegal hunt, this one in April. It comes a week after the international furor set off by the killing of Africa's iconic lion Cecil by a Minnesota dentist in early July.

Long before Benjamin Carson was a Republican presidential candidate, he was a hero and a role model.

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In a campaign looking for a jumpstart, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul released a video Tuesday that attempted to grab some of the spotlight away from Donald Trump.

On the day when Nikki Haley, South Carolina's governor, proclaimed it "a new day in South Carolina" and signed into law the removal of the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds, one Democratic presidential candidate sought to clarify his stance on the flag's place in American history.

Jim Webb, the former senator and current presidential candidate, provided a nuanced answer to whether he was glad to see the flag gone during an interview with CBS Thursday.

Four years ago, pledges were en vogue in the early going of the Republican presidential primary. But a prominent one, that landed some of the candidates in hot water, is being nixed this time around.

Following a trio of Republican campaign announcements last week, Ben Carson leaps to the top spot of GOP presidential candidates in the latest Fox News poll tied with presumed GOP front-runner Jeb Bush.

Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee all entered the race for the Republican nomination early last week, but none has seen as dramatic a bump as the retired neurosurgeon.

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This post was updated at 10 a.m. ET

The field of major Republican presidential candidates is growing larger. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina jumped into the race Monday. And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is expected to jump into the race this week.

Earlier this week, members of Congress and their staffs were greeted by a makeshift golf expo set up in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The event included golf shot simulators, certified golf instructors and a putting challenge between Democrats and Republicans. It was all part of National Golf Day, an annual event organized by the industry that promotes the economic and health benefits of the sport.

Now that Democrat Hillary Clinton has officially launched her presidential campaign, the 2016 race for the White House is underway.

The GOP got its third entrant in what is shaping up to be a crowded field when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced his bid Monday.

How and where a candidate chooses to roll out a campaign can say a lot about the type of race he or she intends to run, at least in the early going.

The Republican National Committee held its third annual RNC Black Republican Trailblazers awards on Wednesday. The theme of this year's event was paying homage to the achievements of black Republicans past and present.

The program was held at The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., and marked the historic elections of Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, Utah's Rep. Mia Love, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Together, they make up the largest class of black Republicans in Congress since Reconstruction.

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Don't look now, but Democrats may be on the verge of losing more than just the Senate after Tuesday's election. The governor's race in Maryland, one of the bluest states in the nation, has gotten uncomfortably tight.

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