Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who works with NPR's Morning Edition and Digital Media group. In addition to coordinating Web features, he frequently contributes to NPR's blogs, from The Two Way and All Tech Considered to The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to leading the London 2012 Olympics blog, The Torch. His assignments have included being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road, as well as establishing the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR.org.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, the site won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

At NPR, Chappell trains both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between departments. Other shows he has worked with include All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation.

Prior to joining NPR in late 2003, Chappell worked on the Assignment Desk at CNN International, handling coverage in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and coordinating CNN's pool coverage out of Qatar.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, as well as editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division. He also worked at the network's video and research library.

Before joining CNN, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

From 2002-2003, Chappell served as editor-in-chief of The Trans-Atlantic Journal, a business and lifestyle monthly geared for expatriate Europeans working and living in the United States.

A holder of bachelor's degrees in English and History from the University of Georgia, he attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Tue June 24, 2014

LeBron James Will Reportedly Become Free Agent, Ending Miami Contract

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, seen here at a news conference last week, will reportedly file papers to become a free agent, opting to end his contract with Miami.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:34 am

NBA star LeBron James is shaking things up at the Miami Heat, reportedly opting to end his contract early to become a free agent. The move comes one week after James and the Heat were trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.

"LeBron James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option," ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted today.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Tue June 24, 2014

U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Found Guilty

Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive, leaves the Central Criminal Court in London on Tuesday, after being acquitted. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was convicted of phone hacking Tuesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:21 am

Former News International leader Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all misconduct in a headline-grabbing trial revolving around tycoon Rupert Murdoch's British media empire. Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, was found guilty of conspiracy to hack personal voicemails.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Kerry Visits Kurds To Urge A United Iraq

Secretary of State John Kerry (second from left) arrives at Irbil International Airport with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Robert Stephen Beecroft (fourth from left) on Tuesday. The president of Iraq's ethnic Kurdish region declared Tuesday that "we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq."
Brendan Smialowski AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 11:15 am

Secretary of State John Kerry talked to Kurdish leaders in Irbil today, urging them to keep the autonomous region as part of Iraq. Kerry's visit came as the Sunni extremist group ISIS says it has cemented control of Iraq's largest oil refinery, and as sectarian divisions are threatening to pull Iraq apart.

Kerry is now on his way to Brussels, after assuring Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq that there would be "sustained and intense" support to Iraq to help it counter rapid advances by Sunni militants in recent weeks.

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Christian Woman Escapes Death In Sudan Over Conversion

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman last month. A court ordered Ishag freed Monday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:14 pm

A Sudanese woman who gave birth in prison after being sentenced to hang for converting to Christianity has been freed. The case of Meriam Ibrahim attracted wide concern, and criticism from Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ibrahim, 27, says she was raised an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, after being born to a Muslim father. In May, she was eight months pregnant when she was tried for charges that included apostasy — abandoning Islam — and marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Spineless, And Now Homeless: National Zoo Closes Animal Exhibit

A curious cuttlefish stares back at the camera from inside The Smithsonian's National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit. The exhibit, home to dozens of small aquatic and terrestrial species without backbones, closed on Sunday.
Meghan Murphy Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:17 am

Invertebrates make up about 99 percent of all species. But they're no longer being featured at the National Zoo due to budget problems. The Invertebrate Exhibit was shut down Sunday, less than a week after the closure was publicly announced.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences Journalists To Lengthy Prison Terms

Australian journalist Peter Greste (left) of Al-Jazeera news channel and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (center) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, listen to the verdict inside the defendants' cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:18 pm

Three journalists who work for the Al-Jazeera news network have been sentenced to prison terms — two lasting seven years and a third lasting 10 — by an Egyptian court. The three were accused of aiding terrorists, a term that in this case applies to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

From Egypt's Ahram Online:

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Kerry Meets With Iraqi Prime Minister In Baghdad Amid ISIS Crisis

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (right) sits with Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday. Kerry was in Baghdad to push for Iraqi unity and stability, as Sunni militants swept through western towns abandoned by security forces.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:48 am

As Sunni militants make gains against Iraq's Shiite-led central government, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid a previously unannounced visit to Baghdad to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.

Maliki has been criticized for not being more inclusive of Sunnis and Kurds in his government — a change the Obama administration is calling for as part of any plans for military support.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

U.S. To Open Immigrant Family Detention Centers In Response To Influx

Young migrants seen apprehended by the Border Patrol near the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, TX, earlier this year. The next stop for many is either a detention center or deportation.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 3:40 pm

Citing a rise in the number of children and families attempting to immigrate into the Southwestern U.S. illegally, the Obama administration says it will use new detention facilities to house the families.

The administration says it will boost enforcement efforts and speed up removal proceedings. And it will try to dispel a notion among some migrants that current U.S. policies allow them to enter the country illegally.

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

There's No Run Like A Prison Run

Runners chat at a recent track event at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. The prison's program allows inmates (in blue shirts) to run alongside regular citizens (in orange).
Sam Gehrke OPB

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 1:37 pm

Themed outdoor running events have grown in popularity, with participants flocking to races that promise unusual settings and obstacles (including zombies). But for decades now, an Oregon track has hosted a rare event: races run by inmates of a maximum-security prison alongside regular citizens.

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

U.N.: Number Of Displaced People Hits Mark Not Seen Since World War II

Afghan children gather at a special medical camp set up by UNHCR to mark World Refugee Day in Islamabad on Friday. The U.N. agency says there were 51.2 million displaced people at the end of 2013, 6 million more than the previous year.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 11:41 am

At least 51.2 million people are now living under forced displacement, a U.N. agency says, announcing its tally of people who are seeking refuge or asylum, or who are internally displaced. It's the first time the number has topped 50 million since World War II.

The figures mean that worldwide, the number of displaced people is roughly equivalent to the entire population of nations such as Spain and South Korea. If all of them were put into one country, it would be the 26th largest in the world, the U.N. says.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Leading Shiite Cleric Says Iraq Needs A New Government

Iraqi Shiites perform the Friday prayer in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq. Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for the country's next government to be "effective" and avoid past mistakes, in an implicit criticism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Mohammed Sawaf AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 12:19 pm

As Iraq struggles to cope with rapid advances by the Sunni militant group ISIS, the religious leader of the nation's Shiites says it's time for an "effective" government to take over.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's comments Friday add to criticisms of embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Married Same-Sex Couples To Receive More Federal Benefits

The Obama administration is set to announce expanded federal benefits for same-sex spouses, no matter what state they live in. On Thursday, demonstrators supporting same-sex marriage marched in front of the Supreme Court.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 4:31 pm

This post was updated at 5:20 p.m. ET.

The Family Medical Leave Act's benefits will be extend to married same-sex couples in all of the U.S., under a White House announced today. The change comes as the Obama administration alters federal policies to fit the Supreme Court's repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Harley-Davidson's New Bike Hums, Instead Of Roaring

Harley-Davidson's new electric motorcycle can hit 60 mph from a standing start in 4 seconds. The company plans to unveil the LiveWire model Monday in New York.
M.L. Johnson AP

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 11:21 am

Don't expect to hear the roar of a gas engine when you see the new motorcycle from Harley-Davidson. That's because it's powered by batteries. The Wisconsin-based company unveiled its new LiveWire bike today, saying it's "time to shape the next generation" of riders.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Obama: U.S. Forces Won't Return To Combat In Iraq Crisis

President Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House Thursday. Obama said the U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq — but that U.S. forces won't engage in combat with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 1:56 pm

President Obama says the U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help it cope with the Sunni extremist group ISIS, which has won several key battles in recent days.

Obama said Americans won't be taking up combat roles in the conflict — and he said the U.S. won't take actions "that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another."

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Supreme Court Sides With Whistleblower In Retaliation Case

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 12:21 pm

In a case over retaliation against a public employee who was fired after testifying about corruption, the Supreme Court says the man gave testimony as a concerned citizen and should not have been punished. The decision was unanimous, overturning lower courts.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu June 19, 2014

House Republicans To Vote On Cantor's Replacement Today

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:43 am

Republicans will vote by secret ballot today in the House of Representatives, as they choose a new majority leader and majority whip to lead them. Rep. Eric Cantor is stepping down from his No. 2 spot, after losing a primary contest earlier this month.

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The Two-Way
7:39 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Only 7 Percent Of Americans Are Big Fans Of Congress

Only 7 percent of Americans polled by Gallup said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress as an American institution.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 12:30 pm

The amount of confidence Americans have in Congress has hit a new low. Only 7 percent of the people polled by Gallup said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the legislature as an American institution.

The rock-bottom level of confidence in Congress "is not only the lowest on record," the polling company says, "but also the lowest Gallup has recorded for any institution in the 41-year trend. This is also the first time Gallup has ever measured confidence in a major U.S. institution in the single digits."

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Dodgers' Ace Kershaw Notches His First No-Hitter

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (left) celebrates his no-hitter with his teammates after striking out 15 Colorado Rockies batters.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 10:41 am

The no-hitters just keep coming. That's the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the team's pitchers have thrown two games without giving up a hit in less than a month. Clayton Kershaw used 15 strikeouts to complete the feat Wednesday, matching teammate Josh Beckett's May 25 effort.

Getting the no-hitter was "pretty cool," Kershaw said after throwing 107 pitches in the game.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Iraq Battles Militants For Key Oil Refinery In Beiji

Iraqi army soldiers parade during a recruiting drive for men to volunteer for military service in Baghdad on Thursday. The country's leaders are urging Iraqis to help battle insurgents who have mounted an aggressive campaign in the north.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:54 am

In an attempt to stop the juggernaut advance of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, Iraq's central government says the fight for the country's largest oil refinery is far from over. A military official says 40 militants have been killed.

"Iraqi government officials say an elite special operations force is holding off ISIS militants at the Beiji refinery 160 miles north of the capital," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Erbil. "But local police report ISIS is tightening a grip on the facility."

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Wed June 18, 2014

House Panel Grills GM CEO And Investigator Over Switch Recall

Family members of victims of a faulty GM ignition switch lined the rear wall of a congressional hearing with their photos Wednesday.
Cliff Owen AP

Questions about a potential cover-up and an unhealthy corporate culture dominated a congressional hearing today about General Motors' handling of a deadly safety flaw in ignition switches in millions of its cars.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Washington Redskins' Trademark Registrations Cancelled

Several of the Washington Redskins' trademark registrations have been canceled. The team will appeal the decision.
Nick Wass AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 4:25 pm

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked the trademark of the NFL's Washington Redskins, after ruling in a case brought by five Native Americans who say the name disparages them. While the decision could have wide repercussions, it does not require the team to change its name. It is also subject to appeal, which the team has confirmed it will pursue.

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Wed June 18, 2014

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area Would Nearly Double Under New Plan

The Department of the Interior is proposing a large expansion of U.S. efforts to make energy from offshore winds, with a plan centered off the Massachusetts coast. Here, a 2010 photo shows a sunrise over Nantucket Sound.
Julia Cumes AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:55 am

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Ukraine's President Announces Plan For Unilateral Cease-Fire

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (far right) attends a graduation ceremony at the National University of Defense of Ukraine in Kiev on Wednesday. In a speech there, the president said he is ordering a cease-fire in the struggle against armed militants.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:58 am

President Petro Poroshenko, whose rise to power in Ukraine coincided with an aggressive crackdown on separatist militants, is calling for a temporary cease-fire by government forces. The break in action would allow the armed opposition to lay down their weapons, Poroshenko says.

The cease-fire will begin in "the next few days," Reuters reports, citing a Ukrainian defense official. The plan was announced during an appearance by Poroshenko at a military academy Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Militants Attack Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery As Sectarian Clashes Spread

An Iraqi boy and other civilians look at the aftermath of a car bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City on Wednesday. The violence in the Shiite district comes as Sunni militants advance in northern Iraq.
Karim Kadim AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:06 am

The Sunni militant group that has stormed across Iraq invaded the country's largest oil refinery today, hitting it with mortars. The government is using limited air attacks to strike back at ISIS, which now controls large areas of Iraq's north.

"The oil refinery in Beiji has been under siege since the militant fighters of ISIS seized the town of Beiji in their sweep through northern Iraq," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Irbil, Iraq. "In an offensive at dawn, ISIS fighters attacked the refinery with machine-gun fire and mortars, according to Iraqi security forces."

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Man Emerges From Picasso's Painting 'The Blue Room'

Scientists and art experts found a hidden painting beneath one of Picasso's first masterpieces, The Blue Room, thanks to advances in infrared technology. Here, associate conservator Patricia Favero of The Phillips Collection points to a detail in the image.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 10:21 am

A bearded man lurks beneath the surface of a famous Picasso painting. That's the image brought to us by curators who used new technology to find details of a portrait the artist painted over when he created his famous The Blue Room in 1901.

The painting's surface depicts a scene in Pablo Picasso's studio in Paris, with a woman bathing between a window and a table. But a different scene lies underneath, as infrared and other analysis shows a man in a bow tie staring out from the canvas, his head propped on his hand.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Twin Tornadoes In Nebraska Leave 2 Dead, Others In Hospital

A still image from a video shows two tornadoes approaching Pilger, Neb., Monday. The National Weather Service said at least two people died in the large storm that hit northeast Nebraska.
StormChasingVideo.com AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:11 am

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Tue June 17, 2014

ISIS Rebels Drive Closer To Baghdad; U.S. Considers Options

Displaced Iraqi children line up with their mothers Tuesday to register at a temporary camp for people fleeing violence in northern Iraq.
Karim Sahib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 10:35 am

The extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is tightening control of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, attacking the strategic city of Baqouba, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. The U.S. is sending up to 275 military personnel to bolster its embassy in the capital; President Obama is also reportedly weighing airstrikes.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor Says He'll Quit Majority Leader Post After Primary Defeat

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia takes the podium to speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday. He announced that he would step down as majority leader on July 31.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 4:50 pm

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, fresh from a stunning primary upset at the hands of a Tea Party rival, said today that he would vacate his leadership post by the end of July to make room for a successor.

"Effective July 31, I will be stepping down as majority leader," Cantor told reporters at a news conference. "It is with great humility that I do so."

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Bill To Allow Refinancing Of Student Loans Dies In Senate

"Who does Washington work for?" asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after her bill that would let people refinance student debt was shot down Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 1:42 pm

A bill that would have let millions of people refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate has failed in the Senate, after Republicans objected that it included a tax on the wealthy to pay for it. The measure would have allowed people with older loans to benefit from today's low interest rates.

The bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn't get past a procedural vote, falling by a 56-38 vote. Called the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, it was shot down days after President Obama urged Congress to help ease the burden of student debt.

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Wed June 11, 2014

The Cooter Effect: Did Ben Jones Help Unseat Eric Cantor?

Former Rep. Ben Jones, a Democrat, wrote an open letter calling on voters to oust Eric Cantor in the Republicans' open primary — an event that transpired Tuesday. A former actor, Jones played the role of Cooter on TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. He's seen here meeting a fan last year.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 1:18 pm

To the pile of explanations for the shocking primary loss by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to challenger Dave Brat, add one more: the idea that Democrats and independents tilted the Republicans' open primary at the prompting of former Rep. Ben Jones, a Democrat.

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