2015 Eyes of History: Still Contest: Picture Story/Politics

A series of pictures that depicts a story line or single theme devoted to U.S. politics or a U.S. politician. 12 photos maximum.

First Place

Brendan Smialowski, Agence French-Presse
Frequent Flyer: US Secretary of State John Kerry — on pace to be one of the most traveled secretaries — is devoting much of his time to the Middle East. The Obama administration’s attention to the region has faced heavy criticism. Peace talks between Israel and Palestine have failed while Islamic State extremists in Syria have gained power during civil war. The Iraqi government has lost control of key areas as the militants’ violence and influence has spilled over the border. The United States is trying to coordinate regional and international allies to aid the country the US left in 2011 after nearly 9 years of war.

Second Place

Win McNamee, Getty Images
I Challenge Mitch: With the balance of power in the U.S. Senate at stake, and more than $80 million being fed into the race, Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Grimes (D-KY) challenged incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the 2014 midterm election. The race featured a youthful and charismatic candidate against one of the most powerful and well financed incumbent members of Congress. While Grimes led early in the race, and remained tied in polls with McConnell for much of the year, the final month saw McConnell's monetary advantage and efforts to paint Grimes as an Obama surrogate begin to take effect. McConnell ultimately regained his lead and defeated Grimes to become the new Senate Majority Leader as the Republican party regained control of the U.S. Senate. U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison.

Third Place

Linda Davidson, The Washington Post
The Education of Samantha Power: Pulitzer-prize winning author and humanitarian Samantha Power now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations walks portraits of former U.N. Secretary Generals Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan at the UN in New York. The fledgling diplomat is learning from the inside now how difficult it is to change foreign policy, play the diplomat's game and balance all of it with raising a family.

Award of Excellence

Gabriella Demczuk, The New York Times
A Rock and A Hard Place: In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that 2014 would be “the year of action”, instead, it was “the year of inaction”. With a contentious midterm election coming up for Democratic members of Congress, it was imperative that he do nothing that could jeopardize their chances of winning; however, the more he tried to address the many problems facing the nation both at home and abroad, the more pushback he received, alienating himself from not only his party but the rest of America as well. It quickly became one of the loneliest and trying times of his presidency, one that was spent fundraising and worrying about the future of the Democratic party than leading and changing the future of America.

Award of Excellence

Brooks Kraft, TIME
Untitled: Hillary Clinton attends Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s 37th annual Steak Fry, a Democratic fundraiser well known as a presidential launchpad. It was her first trip back to Iowa since loosing the 2008 Iowa caucus nearly seven years ago to Barack Obama.