Lance Mercier knows his job gets harder when a co-worker goes out on leave. But he recently also learned that raising a newborn involves, as he puts it, an "insurmountable" amount of work.

The 39-year-old bank manager from Silver Spring, Md., is currently on leave from work taking care of his newborn son with his wife, Luz.

"As a manager who has had a lot of people go out on leave of absence, it absolutely sucks when they go out on leave," he said. "This puts everything back into perspective for me."

In this presidential campaign, political outsiders are outshining experienced politicians.

To succeed with the conservative Republican base in the early-voting state of Iowa, Ted Cruz will need to win over supporters of both outsiders and insiders vying for the nomination.

At a restaurant in the Mississippi River town of Keokuk, Iowa, this week, the Texas senator addressed a full room over a loudspeaker.

"God bless the great state of Iowa," Cruz said. "I spent most of last week in Washington, D.C., so it is great to be back in America."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Bullets flew outside a campaign office of Bridgeport Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Ganim Thursday. Ganim has made reducing violence a theme of his campaign.

The candidate was not at the office at the time. There were no injuries reported.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Candidates faced off Tuesday night in the first of the Democratic primary debates, and several groups of students at the University of Connecticut gathered for watching parties across campus. 

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

The 2016 presidential cycle has been mostly dominated by a crowded Republican field but now it's the Democrats' turn as the candidates square off in their first debate. Also this week, former President Bill Clinton is in Connecticut to accept an award at UConn. But a trip to the Nutmeg State isn’t complete without a fundraiser, so he’s swinging by Attorney General George Jepsen’s house to fundraise for his wife’s presidential campaign as well. But out of all these events, only the debate will be broadcast in virtual reality.

This post was updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The first Democratic debate brought out some passionate and, at times, awkward moments from the five candidates on stage. A highlight of the night was when Bernie Sanders decided he'd had enough of Hillary Clinton's email scandal, exclaiming "the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails."

But Sanders later stumbled on foreign policy, and Clinton struggled to defend her changing positions.

Here's each candidate's best and worst moment from Tuesday night:

Democratic presidential hopefuls sparred over gun control policy and financial regulation during their first presidential debate.

Here's a closer look at what the candidates were debating in Las Vegas.

Gun Control

Hillary Clinton: "We have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long, and it's time the entire country stood up against the NRA."

ConnectMeetings / Creative Commons

Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the University of Connecticut Thursday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and will receive a human rights award.

Gage Skidmore/Frank Plitt / Creative Commons

A poll from Quinnipiac University released on Tuesday found that Donald Trump leads in a Republican presidential primary race in Connecticut, at 34 percent. But he trails leading Democrats in general election matchups.

A bruised Hillary Clinton will have much to prove as she takes the debate stage Tuesday evening alongside four of her Democratic presidential challengers. The former secretary of state has been damaged by lingering questions about her private email server and doubts about her trustworthiness.

That has partly enabled Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to ride a wave of progressive support to a lead over her in New Hampshire and an impressive $25 million fundraising haul last quarter.

Michael S. Gordon / Springfield Republican

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the presidency to Massachusetts this weekend, speaking in Boston and Springfield. In a speech Saturday to a crowd of about 6,000 at the MassMutual Center, the U.S. senator from Vermont addressed an issue he hasn’t talked about much: gun control.

President Obama passionately pleaded for stricter gun laws in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting Thursday. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and others renewed their calls for stricter gun control measures.

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

It turns out that state budget chief Ben Barnes was being dead serious when he said Connecticut was in "permanent fiscal crisis." Recent budget cuts have caused an uproar among hospitals, which get hit hard.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said her office has no legal authority to grant exceptions to state law on petitioning minor party candidates. Her statement comes in response to efforts by the Job Creation Party Committee in Bridgeport to get a petitioning mayoral candidate, incumbent Mayor Bill Finch, onto the ballot for the upcoming November election.

Carly Fiorina's presidential campaign took her to an exam room at a crisis pregnancy center in South Carolina Thursday. She crammed in, along with a pregnant woman, an OB-GYN and a crowd of reporters.

The visit came as the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has doubled down on her opposition to Planned Parenthood. Fiorina visited the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg, a Christian-run organization that's becoming a popular campaign stop for presidential candidates opposed to abortion — at least the fifth GOP candidate to visit the center this year.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After losing to former mayor Joe Ganim last week, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch is going to court to try to appear on the November ballot as the Job Creation Party's mayoral candidate. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

At some point during this 2015 municipal election cycle, an argument could be made that Hartford rivaled Bridgeport for having the most bizarre mayoral race in Connecticut. Not anymore. Within the last seven days, incumbent Mayor Bill Finch not only lost his party's nomination to a former mayor who served seven years for corruption, but he also lost a spot on the November ballot.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has come out against the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. It's something she has spent months avoiding taking a position on — and her announcement coincided with the mass media event of Pope Francis' landing at Andrews Air Force Base.

Dan Schultz / WNPR

After serving as Hartford's mayor for five years, Pedro Segarra has dropped his bid for re-election following his defeat last week in the Democratic primary. He's now supporting his chief opponent.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Secretary of the State's Office said that Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch cannot run for re-election as a candidate for the Jobs Creation Party, complicating his efforts to appear on the November ballot. 

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended his campaign for president Monday, capping off a rapid rise and equally rapid fall in the GOP race.

At a brief 6 p.m. ET press conference in Madison, Wis., Walker said he was suspending his White House bid, in part, to stop the current GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

"Today I feel I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field," Walker said.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

One of the three Democratic mayoral candidates in Bridgeport is withdrawing from the race and refusing to endorse another candidate. 

Political conventions are, at least in theory, supposed to be about party unity. But on Saturday at New Hampshire's annual Democratic Party convention, a disagreement among Democrats over presidential debates broke out on the convention floor.

ocean yamaha / creative commons

Ahmed Mohamed is a 14-year-old Texas student who likes to tinker. He was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school, because school officials thought it was a bomb. What followed was an outpouring of support for Mohamed, who many said was targeted because of his Muslim faith. President Obama invited him to the White House, Mark Zuckerberg invited him to Facebook HQ, and he even got a scholarship to space camp.  

Aaron Frutman / Creative Commons

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady threw his support behind presidential candidate Donald Trump Wednesday, hours before the second Republican debate.

Donald Trump was once again at center stage at Wednesday night's debate hosted by CNN — the second debate among the GOP candidates for president This time, however, he had a harder time holding the spotlight.

Again and again throughout the seemingly interminable three-hour spectacle, the attention of the audience migrated to the the smallest figure on the set: Carly Fiorina.

Anne Bishop Ogden / Facebook

City councilor Michael Passero will be New London’s Democratic candidate for mayor, after defeating the incumbent, Daryl Justin Finizio. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is waking up on Thursday learning who the nominees are for important mayors’ jobs around the state. And it's a little bit of a surprise. All three Democratic incumbents in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New London lost their respective races.

In a Democratic mayoral primary race in Bridgeport, Conn., that pitted a former mayor who served a seven-year prison sentence for corruption against a two-term incumbent, Joe Ganim pulled off a surprising comeback Wednesday night.

"Ganim's message that everybody deserves a second chance earned the former felon the endorsement of the city's police union and the support of the FBI agent who'd locked him up," Diane Orson of member station WNPR reports from New Haven.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Ex-convict and former mayor Joseph Ganim is declaring victory in the Democratic primary in Bridgeport.