Candidate Confessional - Defeated Politicians Tell All

Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than …

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  • 15. This Democrat Says The Party Needs To Reinvent Itself In The Era Of Trump

    Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello lost his congressional seat in the Tea Party wave of 2010. In 2017, he jumped back in the ring with a run for Governor, and his primary race against Ralph Northam was viewed as another skirmish in the broader Democratic party battle between the Bernie wing and the party establishment. Perriello rejects that narrative, but he has some strong opinions about how the party will have the evolve if it wants to compete in the Trump era.

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  • 14. What It’s Like To Be At The Center Of One Of The Biggest Political Sex Scandals In American History

    In 2006, John Edwards hired Rielle Hunter to produce a series of videos that would help lay the groundwork for his planned presidential run. That she did, but the two also carried on a affair that resulted in a child -- all of which Edwards tried desperately to keep secret. Early in his journalistic career, Candidate Confessional host Sam Stein was among the first reporters to publicly speculate about the possibility of an affair. Now, a decade later, Sam and Rielle look back at their respective roles in that story. Hunter reflects on what it was like to have her private life pried open by the tabloids, and why she has a bit of sympathy for our current president.
  • 13. These Two Senators Voted Against The Iraq War. They Thought They Were Ending Their Careers

    When Senators Kent Conrad and Dick Durbin cast their votes against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, they knew it was unlikely they’d be able to stop the invasion. They also knew that their votes might well be the end of their senate careers. Today, that “no” vote looks like an obvious choice. But in the moment, it was a leap of faith for them to trust their instincts and oppose the war. They also remind us that the political realities that fueled the rush to war are still present today, that there is almost nothing standing between the president and a new war -- if he wants it.
  • 12. The Only Person Ever To Lose An Election To Mitt Romney

    In 2002, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien decided to throw her hat in the ring in the race for governor. Her opponent would be one Willard “Mitt” Romney, known for his failed senate run in 1994 and as president of the 2002 Winter Olympics. She went after him, after Barack Obama would do in 2012, over his time at Bain Capital. Mitt went after Shannon over her husband’s ties to Enron. Sparks flew, and O’Brien became the only person ever to go down to Mitt Romney at the polls.
  • 11. The South Florida Dem Who Got Hacked By The Russians

    In early 2016, the race for the 26th congressional district looked like it was shaping up to be a pretty standard Florida election, as Democrat Annette Taddeo took on incumbent Republican Carlos Curbelo. To her surprise, Taddeo attracted an unexpected opponent in the primary, a former Democratic congressman named Joe Garcia. That was bad enough. But things got even worse when a bunch of documents relating to her campaign got leaked by Russian hackers.
  • 10. Revisiting The Last Disaster In The Gulf

    In the Spring of 2010, one of the worst environmental disasters in history occurred when the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next few months, over 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the ocean. Today, as a new disaster -- Hurricane Harvey -- confronts the gulf coast, what lessons are there to be learned from the response to the BP spill? Ben LaBolt, assistant White House press secretary during the spill, talks to us about how he helped craft the Obama administration’s response.
  • 9. What It Was Like To Be An Openly Gay Politician In 1996

    In 1996, two of congress’s only 3 openly gay members were set to retire; only Barney Frank would be left standing. To fill the void, two new gay candidates stepped up. One of them was Rick Zbur in Southern California, and during that campaign he became an unwitting test case for how to deal with running for office while out.