Political news from WNPR

Updated at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Days before he was to be relegated once again to a second-tier debate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Friday he was suspending his struggling presidential campaign. It makes him the first to bow out in the crowded Republican presidential nominating contest.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is amassing a following nationwide for his presidential bid. But he's causing headaches in the Democratic Party establishment, as evidenced by his lack of support from Democrats in Congress.

Senate Democrats banded together and blocked a resolution disapproving the landmark nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and five other nations on Thursday, and in doing so handed President Obama a major foreign policy victory.

The procedural vote fell two votes shy of the 60 needed to proceed. The significance of the vote is that the controversial accord, which lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear program, will be enacted without a major showdown between the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The White House announced Thursday that the U.S. is preparing to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees starting Oct. 1 (the start of the fiscal year). This year, the U.S. is on track to take in about 1,500 Syrian refugees, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. He reiterated that the U.S. has provided $4 billion in humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.

Connecticut is launching a required registrar certification system Monday following missteps at polling places last Election Day.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With a week to go before the Hartford Democratic primary, mayoral candidate Luke Bronin stops by for our Where We Vote series. Incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra was our guest last month and today, we meet his biggest challenger for what is expected to be a tight primary race. We discuss the politics of this race, his plans for the capital city if he's elected, and how his administration would be different from his opponent's.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

When Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra began his early rhetorical push, he used a decent amount of "us versus them" talk.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy returned from a five-day trip to the Middle East earlier this week. He discussed the Iran nuclear agreement, the Syrian refugee crisis and other issues during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Paul Morigi / Brookings Institute

The Iowa caucus is nearly five months away and candidates continue to jockey for the limelight. Many supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are talking about their candidate like he's Rodney Dangerfield: he gets no respect. Sanders' social media-savvy supporters have not shied away from criticizing media outlets (including this one) for its coverage.

A conservative Latino group is voicing its frustration with Republican immigration rhetoric on the campaign trail.

In a letter obtained by NPR, the Libre Initiative, which is funded by the Koch brothers, made a clear, bold statement aimed at fellow conservatives. It criticized what it sees as policies that "are not in line with our principles and are not in the best interest of the country." (The full letter is at the bottom of the post.)

Senate Democrats are on the verge of delivering a big win to President Obama on the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers.

With three more Democrats announcing Tuesday they were backing the accord, it gave supporters enough votes to prevent the passage of a disapproval resolution. Any such resolution would sink the White House-backed nuclear deal that lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced on Tuesday that he will support the Iran nuclear plan. Speaking in Hartford, he said, "Rejecting this agreement is fraught with unacceptable risk."

United States Air Force / Creative Commons

Since 1986, the United States has been granting visa waivers to citizens of countries it sees as trusted allies. Someone from France or Spain can, relatively easily, use a passport and visit for up to 90 days. There are 38 countries whose citizens do not require visas to enter the United States. 

But one key ally has been wait listed: Poland. And the Polish community is asking, “Why not us?” 

White House

President Obama announced an executive order requiring paid sick leave for more than 300,000 employees of federal contractors Monday morning.

With thousands of Syrian refugees and other migrants finally reaching havens in Germany and other European countries — and thousands more arriving daily — the Obama administration says it's "actively considering" ways to help, including allowing more refugees into the U.S.

The migrant crisis has placed stress on infrastructure in Greece, Macedonia and Hungary. It has also highlighted divisions between European Union countries.

The leader of Iran's legislature has definite views on his country's nuclear deal with world powers.

Ali Larijani says the agreement is good enough. He adds that United States' reading of that deal, particularly when it comes to sanctions, is not good at all. And he's hoping that the agreement brings change in his country — though not as much as many Iranians would want.

Laura Ouimette / Creative Commons

As Hartford voters prepare to pick their next mayor, there's another mayor whose name keeps coming up. Eddie Perez was convicted more than five years ago on corruption-related charges. Now, his case may soon get a hearing at the state's highest court. 

The only American military installation abroad that's unwelcome to its host government is the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A treaty signed in 1934 leases Guantanamo to the United States in perpetuity, for about $4,000 a year. And the U.S. has no plans to leave, despite the two countries having just restored diplomatic ties.

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig met his self-imposed goal of crowdfunding $1 million by Labor Day, and Sunday on ABC announced he's running for the Democratic nomination for president.

Lessig, an activist with a grass-roots following among some progressives, says he's running on a singular platform — the Citizen Equality Act of 2017. It would expand voting access, ban gerrymandering and institute campaign finance reform.

Saudi Arabia's new king is at the White House on Friday and Iran is expected to be high on the agenda. The Obama administration has been trying to reassure Gulf Arab allies that a nuclear deal with Iran doesn't mean that the U.S. will turn away from its other concerns about Iranian activities in the Middle East. To prove that, the U.S. is stepping up military sales to Saudi Arabia.

Why Are Migrants Surging Into Europe Now?

Sep 2, 2015

The United Nations says more than 300,000 migrants have set out from North Africa and the Middle East on the Mediterranean Sea for Europe this year so far — 40 percent more than in all of last year.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday that she will support the Iran nuclear agreement, giving the White House the final vote needed to protect the accord from a Republican-led effort to defeat the measure.

More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War, secession was on the minds of protesters in New York this weekend. Hundreds turned out for a rally in Bainbridge in Chenango County. Many live within miles of the Pennsylvania border and believe secession could have a large economic impact on their communities.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is leaving for the Middle East to review operations against the Islamic State.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The 2016 presidential race is well underway, but the race for a Connecticut Senate seat is still in its infancy. A new challenger announced his potential bid against incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal who had "no comment" about Larry Kudlow's political ambitions.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hartford's new minor league baseball stadium celebrated a construction milestone Tuesday. The first steel beams have been delivered and put in place. But a new report says that getting the job done in time to play in April could come at a price. 

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen is set to endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

Shaheen will make the announcement at the New Hampshire Women for Hillary kick-off event in Portsmouth on Saturday, where she’ll be joined by the former Democratic Secretary of State.

In an email to supporters, Shaheen described Clinton as a president who would stand up to help Granite Staters get ahead and stay ahead.

At Saturday’s event in Portsmouth, Clinton plans to discuss challenges women still face across the globe.

The current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump, is sparking a debate about immigration that's beginning to alienate some conservative Latinos.

"He drowns out a lot of the conservative field, and it's very bad for the Republican Party," said Ricky Salabarria, a 22-year-old consultant with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses tucked into his pink dress shirt.

Salabarria was among a half-dozen young conservatives at a networking event in Northern Virginia. He's from Florida, and his family is originally from Cuba and Spain.

Tax hikes, crime, and union contracts provoked the most controversy at the only debate between the two Democratic rivals to become New London mayor.  


Democratic candidates vying to lead the city of Bridgeport met for their first debate this week.