Can't remember one of these daily puzzles giving me more trouble than this one. Didn't help that I threw in STENNIS for the Senator (is he even from the right state?), and what for me was a great mis-direct with the Bunting tool (Bunting - "decorations especially in the colors of a national flag").All in all, solving was a BIDDER SUITE experience.
"Underclued" 12-a on purpose, Bob! Glad it worked ;)