Our country’s politics are consumed by questions of gender, as women candidates’ “electability” comes up in ways subtle and not, the accessibility of abortion is debated, and politicians campaign on restricting the discussion of sexuality and identity. To help cover this, especially as we look forward to a 2024 presidential campaign, The 19th is thrilled to announce the hiring of two reporters to help build out our political coverage, Mel Leonor Barclay and Grace Panetta.
Mel comes to us after covering the fascinating story of Virginia politics at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She reported tenaciously on the blackface scandal around former Gov. Ralph Northam, then covered the state through protests for racial justice and the COVID-19 pandemic. She dove into the 2021 gubernatorial campaign, writing about how many of the divisions that are playing out around our country were reflected there — and the election of a Republican governor who is now seen as a potential presidential hopeful.
Mel moved to Florida from the Dominican Republic as a teenager. She started out covering government in the fertile reporting ground of South Florida, interning at the South Florida Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald and then working at the Naples Daily News. She came north to work for Politico before moving to Richmond, where she lives now. She’s currently writing a newsletter for States Newsroom about abortion policy through the states.
Mel joins us November 7.
Grace comes from Insider, where she started as a college-aged intern and stayed on to cover the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, the pandemic and the 2020 election. She delved into how elections work, reporting on the law and how they are administered, and went on to earn a graduate certificate in election administration from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
She worked on live elections coverage and wrote a chapter on voting in the 2020 election for “A Return to Normalcy? The 2020 Election That (Almost) Broke America,” a book produced and edited by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Grace is a Massachusetts native who is currently based in Washington, D.C.
Grace joins us October 3.
We’re excited to add to our coverage, examining how politicians are pitching their candidacies and how voters see them. We’re interested in taking a look at how both parties are trying to appeal to voters and what policies they’re discussing — and what voters feel is left out.