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Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

Christine Garcia, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom, doesn't consider herself a particularly political person. But like a lot of women, she has strong opinions about President Trump.

"Maybe on the business side ... the money is better as far as I understand," Garcia said. "But a lot of the other things are very worrisome," she added with a laugh, as she pushed her daughter on a swing in a park in Birmingham, Mich., an affluent suburb of Detroit.

Garcia considers herself a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.

Cheered on by a handful of activists, liberal House Democrats announced outside the Capitol that they were forming a caucus to push for "Medicare for All" — shorthand for government-financed health care.

Two Republican candidates for governor participated in their first debate Thursday in Kissimmee.

Congressman Ron DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam squared off in a nationally televised debate on Fox News.

The candidates were questioned about the Trump administration’s immigration policy and how they would help secure the border.

DeSantis says families crossing the boarded illegally shouldn’t be separated.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.

The Republican health care bill remained in shambles Thursday as House leaders threw up their hands and sent lawmakers home for a two-week recess. GOP chiefs announced a modest amendment to curb premium increases, but internal divisions still blocked their promised repeal of former President Barack Obama's law.

"This brings us closer to the final agreement that we all want to achieve," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said of the new amendment, flanked by about two dozen GOP lawmakers at a news briefing meant to project unity.

The White House and House Republicans appear short of a last-ditch deal on their long-promised repeal of Barack Obama's health care law. And in an unexpected twist, "Obamacare" — never very popular — seems to be rising in public opinion polls.

It’s no secret that longtime Florida Republican strategist Mac Stipanovich doesn’t like Donald Trump. This week he became the latest Florida GOP official to publicly back Democrat Hilary Clinton for President. Stipanovich shares his thoughts on the state of the Grand Old Party, and where it goes after this election.

flgov.com

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are going to speak at the Republican National Convention.

Navigating cultural issues like same-sex marriage and immigration has proved tricky for Republicans.

The country has grown rapidly more accepting of gay and lesbian marriage and relationships. And despite a shrinking base of white support and a fast-growing Latino population, Republicans have struggled to adjust.

The Republican Party seems like two parties these days. In the Senate, Republicans joined a two-thirds majority to pass an immigration bill. But in the House, Republicans are balking.

Strategist Alex Lundry says it's hard to figure out the way forward when your party's base of power is the House of Representatives.

"One problem we have in the wilderness is that there are a thousand chiefs," he says. "And it is hard to get a party moving when you don't have somebody at the top who is a core leader who can be directive."

DonkeyHotey

Republicans dominate the Florida Senate -- so much so, that many run unopposed.

But this year, more Democrats are challenging Republicans. The reason is a little-known loophole in campaign finance law.

State senate candidates typically raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.   And when they run unopposed, they can give that money to the state party to use on more competitive races.

But political consultant Peter Schorsch says Democrats have found a way to keep that money out of GOP coffers.

Tampa City Council is to decide today on spending around $4 million to equip police with additional safety equipment aimed at controlling crowds at the upcoming Republican National Convention.