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The Rapid Rise of Elaine Luria, the Boldest Moderate in Congress


Unlike almost all endangered incumbents, Luria has regarded politics as secondary during the first half of this year. Instead, she’s been understandably preoccupied with her day job—documenting Trump’s role in directing a coup attempt to overturn the 2020 election. On a typical workday over the Fourth of July congressional recess, Luria was up at 5 a.m. in her home office and reading depositions, and by 7 she was on the phone with staffers to analyze testimony. “That’s pretty typical,” her husband said, “even on the weekends.”

Rather than shying away from the time-draining and divisive assignment, Luria, the most junior member on the committee, vied for the appointment from Nancy Pelosi. “She actively sought the opportunity, but she also knew the risk in doing so,” said her friend McClellan. According to Luria’s husband, neither of them had any doubts that she should serve. “I thought it was important to have a mix of members that had backgrounds like Elaine’s,” he said.

Luria was seen but not heard during the first seven hearings of the committee. Then she took center stage on July 21, the last public session until September. Along with Republican Adam Kinzinger, another veteran, Luria detailed Trump’s paralysis during 187 minutes as rioters rampaged through the Capitol. “This is not, as it may appear, a story of inaction in time of crisis,” she insisted in an understated, but powerful, closing statement. “But instead, it was the final action of Donald Trump’s own plan to usurp the will of the American people and remain in power.”


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