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Florida News

  1. Millions of Floridians to start casting first votes for president


    TALLAHASSEE — As votes were being counted in New Hampshire's presidential primary last Tuesday, more than a million ballots were flooding Florida mailboxes, headed to voters nearly a full month before the state's presidential preference primary.

    Matt Parri, left, and Martin Munro, with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office, move one of 18 pallets containing more than 204,000 ballots to a delivery truck at the warehouse in Largo on Tuesday.
  2. Exclusive interview: Donald Trump talks Cuba, oil drilling and 'badly hurt' Marco Rubio

    State Roundup

    INSIDE A BULLETPROOF SUV — Donald Trump is still pumped up Friday night as he hops inside the Secret Service vehicle whisking him away from a crowd of at least 10,000 fans at USF's Sun Dome.

    Donald Trump stands backstage before he takes the stage at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Friday evening, February 12, 2016 in Tampa. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times]
  3. Donald Trump pumps up crowd of 10,000-plus at USF Sun Dome rally

    State Roundup


    Donald Trump may have Carolina on his mind, but on Friday night the Republican frontrunner rallied the troops in Tampa with an eye toward a long race to the nomination.

    Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Friday evening in Tampa.
  4. Harry Reid: Alan Grayson should drop out of Florida's U.S. Senate race

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate said Friday afternoon that U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, should "immediately" drop out of the race for Marco Rubio's Senate seat, because of a scathing New York Times report over Grayson's controversial management of a once-offshore hedge fund.

    U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson stands on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington Feb. 4. Grayson, who is running for the Senate, is under heavy criticism for a hedge fund that he ran. [New York Times]

  5. Legislators make few repairs to Florida's safety net but push back on tax cuts

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Something strange was happening in the halls of the Republican-led Legislature as it passed the halfway point of its annual session.

    Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, R- Orlando talks with the Tom Lee- R- Brandon, Senate Appropriations Chairman. (SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES, 2015)

  6. Rep. Erik Fresen's close ties to charter schools continue to raise questions of conflict

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A familiar face is back at the center of a perennial tug-of-war in the Florida Legislature between privately-managed charter schools and district-run public schools over taxpayer money for construction projects:

    State Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, confers with colleagues on the floor during the debate on the House budget bill Thursday. [Associated Press]

  7. Florida Senate proposes reforming charter schools' capital funding

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Responding to a controversial plan fast-tracked by Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, a Florida Senate subcommittee is proposing its own reforms to how much school districts can spend on capital costs and what access the state's 650 charter schools should have to state and local dollars.

  8. Florida House and Senate approve budgets at odds with each other and Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Senate and House on Thursday passed differing versions of a state budget but with the common theme of opposition to Gov. Rick Scott's biggest priorities.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott, appearing at a news conference earlier in February at the Hillsborough County Health Department, has been pushing for $1 billion in tax cuts. (ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times)
  9. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson's double life: Congressman and hedge fund manager

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The hedge fund manager boasted that he had traveled to "every country" in the world, studying overseas stock markets as he fine-tuned an investment strategy to capitalize on global companies' suffering because of economic or political turmoil.

    Rep. Alan Grayson stands on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington on Feb. 4. Grayson's highly unusual dual role - a sitting House lawmaker running a hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands - led to an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics. [Zach Gibson | New York Times]
  10. Tampa Bay market has higher-than-average percentage of vacant homes

    Real Estate

    Even as Realtors bemoan a dearth of homes for sale, Tampa Bay has a higher-than-average percentage of houses and condos sitting empty.

    This Shore Acres home at 1867 Nevada Ave NE in St. Petersburg has been abandoned for years. "Zombie'' homes are houses in foreclosure limbo whose owners have abandoned them. (LARA CERRI  | Times)