September 27, 2022

For more than three decades, ABC News' embedded reporter program has planted promising young journalists around the U.S. to cover general elections on the ground. This year, the network is trying something different: It's retained a team of so-called "embeds" to cover midterm elections — and will document their behind-the-scenes journeys for the world to see.
Power Trip — Those Who Seek Power and Those Who Chase Them is an experimental new docuseries by ABC News Studios that aims to examine the state of U.S. politics and highlight the enormous effort that goes into covering elections. It’ll follow the seven embeds, all in their 20s, on their quest to get a feel for issues voters care about and hold candidates accountable. Along the way, they’ll receive mentorship by none other than ABC veteran George Stephanopoulos.
Before Power Trip premieres on Hulu on Sunday, Sept. 25, PEOPLE asked the embeds some questions about their experience so far. Get to know the faces of the dedicated reporters who have sacrificed their year to bring hard-hitting election stories to light.
Age: 29
Coverage Area: Arizona & California
Hometown: Little Rock, Ark.
Alma Maters: New York University & Columbia Journalism School
What makes the 2022 midterms such an important election cycle?
These midterms will determine control of Congress, which determines how much President Joe Biden will be able to accomplish in the second half of his term. Statewide and local races are crucial for election integrity and will lay the groundwork for the 2024 presidential election.
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
The economy, immigration, abortion and education.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered on the campaign trail so far?
Unexpected back pain from carrying so much gear!
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
The kindness and helpfulness I've received from local reporters and everyday Arizonans, who are great about offering water on scorching days.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
An iPhone charger. "ABC" stands for "Always Be Charging."
Age: 25
Coverage Area: Florida
Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.
Alma Maters: New York University & Columbia Journalism School
What makes the 2022 midterms such an important election cycle?
For Florida specifically, the stakes are high for two reasons. One: Democrat Charlie Crist is vying to knock off a potential presidential contender Gov. Ron DeSantis. The result could shake up the presidential race and also set Florida policy on a dramatically different track. Two: The winner of the Senate race between Marco Rubio and Val Demings could tilt the Senate majority in the winner’s party’s favor.
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
It feels like issues are talked about on a partisan line. The economy — for one — is something I’ve heard a lot about from Republicans, and not so much from Democrats. When I talk with Democrats, I hear a lot of concern over abortion rights — something I rarely hear about from Republicans.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered on the campaign trail so far?
Being on 24/7 and having to keep tabs on every little piece of news in the state.
What piece of advice has George Stephanopoulos given you that has stuck with you the most?
One thing that resonated with me was what George said in the Trevor Noah interview about the show — that if we can be transparent about the process of seeking the truth, maybe people will trust what they’re hearing.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
I always bring my copy of Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal on the road. It's my first time reading the series, and I wanted to challenge myself by reading it in Spanish. I'm almost finished and looking forward to starting on book two! (Harry Potter y la Cámara Secreta.)
Age: 29
Coverage Area: Texas & Nevada
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Alma Mater: La Salle University
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
In Texas, immigration and guns. In Nevada, inflation and abortion.
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
Who would've thought that immigration would be the most talked about issue in the midterm?
What piece of advice has George Stephanopoulos given you that has stuck with you the most?
I asked him what advice you would give someone who doesn't have a background in covering politics and he said something along the lines of: "All stories, no matter what you cover, intersect with politics."
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered on the campaign trail so far?
This week I had to set up a live interview and for some reason the person being interviewed couldn't hear through his IFB! I tried everything but there was still no sound and we were pressed for time. So I quickly asked if there were EarPods available so that I could call the control room and he could listen in. Not only did it work but the shot looked good!
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
Who I am and where I'm from. An editor once told me, "You make me a promise, don't you ever let anyone change you, no matter where you go." It's something that I fought with trying to fit in with D.C. culture, but I kept those words with me so when you see me you're going to know, see and feel my city everywhere I go.
Age: 24
Coverage Area: North Carolina & Missouri
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Alma Mater: American University
What makes the 2022 midterms such an important election cycle?
These are first major elections where we're seeing candidates on the ballot who dispute the outcome of the 2020 election. It's important to continue to report the facts and where these candidates stand on issues surrounding elections and more.
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
Inflation and the economy.
What piece of advice has George Stephanopoulos given you that has stuck with you the most?
You're not doing anything wrong if the press team isn't talking to you, they're trying to protect their candidate.
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
How willing people are to share what their thoughts and beliefs are on camera.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
My Beats headphones go everywhere with me.
Age: 23
Coverage Area: Georgia
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Alma Mater: UC Berkeley
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
Inflation is the issue I hear about most often. People often bring up gas prices and higher prices at the grocery store. Many Georgians also talk to me about gun violence in the state.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered on the campaign trail so far?
So far, my biggest challenge on the campaign trail would have to be carrying all my gear around. My backpack can get very heavy with all of my equipment, which poses some challenges, especially when you're running through the airport trying to catch your connecting flight!
What piece of advice has George Stephanopoulos given you that has stuck with you the most?
The advice that has stuck with me the most is when George told me to notice the small details while out on the campaign trail, from the music at campaign stops to the slight tweaks in a candidate's stump speech.
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
It's surprising to see how engaged voters are given midterm elections tend to have historically lower voter turnout levels than presidential elections. Voters I talk to on the ground are keenly aware of what is at stake in November, not just for them locally but nationally, which has led to exciting, nuanced conversations.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
I always take my film camera with me on the road. I wanted to find a unique way to reflect on all my campaign adventures when I got off the trail!
Age: 28
Coverage Area: Pennsylvania
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Alma Mater: Davidson College
What makes the 2022 midterms such an important election cycle?
There is not a shared set of facts in the country right now. Many voters don’t believe the current president is legitimate, and it’s a real campaign issue for some of them. I mean, it’s a campaign issue for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, who believes the 2020 election was stolen. Add in the impact of the Dobbs decision and the fact that there’s a 50-50 Senate, and the stakes this year feel particularly heightened.
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
Inflation rules the day, but abortion and crime aren’t far behind. The Pennsylvania Senate race has involved a lot of personal attacks (Dr. Oz’s residence, John Fetterman’s health), so voters are also passionate about the candidates themselves, not just their stances on the issues.
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
As polarized as the country seems, it doesn’t always feel that way on the ground. I still encounter a lot of voters who haven’t made up their minds or could be persuaded. They may be registered with a party, but they don’t lock themselves in a corner. They’re curious and are willing to vote against their party under the right circumstances.
What piece of advice has George Stephanopoulos given you that has stuck with you the most?
I'm paraphrasing, but George tells us to hustle and be fearless. His own reporting is a pretty good example of that.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
Something to read that isn't about Pennsylvania politics. Even if it's still news, like a magazine from the airport, it's nice to disconnect from the trail at the end of the day with something different.
Age: 29
Coverage Area: Ohio, Michigan & Wisconsin
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
Alma Maters: Fordham University & Columbia Journalism School
What makes the 2022 midterms such an important election cycle?
People say midterms are usually sleepy and there's a decline in voter engagement during these election years but 2022 is quite possibly the most consequential cycle that America has seen in a long time. We have never seen this many Americans motivated to speak their mind, whether it's starting a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in Michigan or it's showing up at a former president's rally in droves to declare their support for their chosen candidate. Plus, what happens in 2022 will certainly shape how the 2024 presidential election will look like.
What issues are you hearing about the most from voters in your region?
People are worried about how they are going to provide for their families. Is what they're earning enough to counter higher gas and food prices? Also, voters are deeply passionate about their stance on abortion. Some are vehemently against it, while some are very much for it, while others are conflicted and are still processing their thoughts surrounding this deeply personal issue.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered on the campaign trail so far?
Juggling all the news from my three states. I start off each day and end each night with checking the news and wires for any breaking news and latest developments on stories that I'm following. Sometimes I get anxious going to sleep (or taking a catnap) in fear that I'll wake up to something exploding. It has happened before and I'm sure it will again from now to Election Day.
What one thing from covering this election has surprised you the most?
Just how much we have in common with our neighbors. Just because we live in different states and zip codes does not mean we are not sharing similar life experiences. We all struggle, in one way or another, to provide for our loved ones and to make our voices heard.
What is one thing you always take with you on the road?
I carry around this little book called This Is Water by David Foster Wallace. Some light reading and it inspires me whenever I'm in a rut. Also, I wear a "P" necklace around my neck. My mom has the "T" so we're never too far apart from one another.
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