As Wyoming Congressman-elect Matt Hawkins begins an affair with Patricia Vaughan, Phil Slanetti, at the behest of the President and without Sam Houston St. Clair’s knowledge, begins contacting Congressmen to change their votes to St. Clair, using the secret information in the Keystone File as his weapon. As an example to others, one Congressman is sacrificed to the press and his career ruined. 

Jack continues shuttling back and forth between Miami and D.C., keeping track of Omer Flores and his sidekick who are hiding Derek Gilbertson’s money. A team from his agency follows them day and night.

The Transition begins with both Thurston and St. Clair attending meetings with President Norwalk. The military situation in China remains stable throughout this period as the U.N. truce holds fast. 

Back in Miami, Raven discovers her sister Antonia and Rafael St. Clair together and explodes. 

Derek unwillingly gets stuck with new “partners,” one of whom is tough guy Vlad Kucherov, the Russian owner of the South Beach nightclub Kremlin, who helps him tail the two Cubans he thinks are planning to cheat him out of $20 that went down when a narco-sub sank off Key West. 

Jack meets several times with Lucy Azzinaro, who handled the shady wire transfers for Derek, but one of Jack’s men following Lucy discovers something that changes the ball game. 

Lord Ellsworth and Ambassador Kornilevski join Slanetti’s team of liaisons hitting targets to convert them to St. Clair votes. 

During the Republican and Democratic caucuses, St. Clair “magically” picks up three states, confounding Thurston and the Democrats. 

As all roads lead to a massive Thanksgiving night party at Patricia’s house, Horizon, Jack gets called to Key West because it looks like the guys they’ve been following are going after the money within hours. 

Jack goes to Key West to join the team assembled and they head out to sea to intercept Vlad and the Cubans. But he’s got to hurry. He’s got to be back in D.C. by that night for the Thanksgiving party at Horizon.

Note: This is a Part 3 of the prequel to THE RUNNING MATE, with many of the same characters, and occurs 4 years earlier.