Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor

Adam C. Smith

Political editor since 2001, Adam Smith was named the best political writer in Florida by washingtonpost.com and one of the country's Top 10 political reporters by the Columbia Journalism Review. He focuses on state and national politics.

Smith has been with the Times since 1992 and has covered local and state government, as well as general assignment and investigative beats. He appears most Sundays on Political Connections on Bay News 9, is a primary contributor to The Buzz political blog. Smith grew up in New York City, graduated Kenyon College in Ohio, and when he's not chasing politicians tries to keep up with his wife, three kids and basset hound.

Phone: (727) 893-8241

Email: asmith@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @AdamSmithTimes

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  1. About that Democratic ground game in Fla

    Blog

    The folks at America Votes, a coaltion of 32 Democratic-leaning labor and other advocacy groups in Florida, are gearing up to defy conventional wisdom that says Democrats tend to stay home in midterm elections. Here's a memo from Josh Geise, Florida State Director of America Votes:


    Date: October 1, 2014
    Re: Progressive Field Activity in Florida
    While ballots are just beginning to drop across the state of Florida, independent progressive groups are already operating in full-swing with a coordinated, high-impact mobilization effort to turn out voters in the midterm election.
    We know what is being said about progressive voter turnout in midterm elections, and we agree – turnout is the single most important factor that will determine progressive victory or defeat this year. In 2010, our voter data file showed Republicans made up 45% of the electorate while Democrats were only 39% in a state were Democrats held a registration advantage of 5%. We’ve known turnout would be progressives’ central challenge in 2014 for a long time, and we’ve been working to develop and test strategies to boost turnout for just as long.
    Strong coordination is the key to addressing the turnout challenge head-on and turning our registered voters into actual voters in November. This cycle, Florida’s progressive organizations are operating at historic levels for a midterm election– both in terms of dollars and reach. Progressives are using cutting-edge data and targeting tools housed in a shared voter file to reach crucial progressive voters – those with a high likelihood of supporting progressive candidates but a lower propensity to vote. Turnout messages are driven by research and field experiments to maximize our effectiveness.
    Our plan is strategic, streamlined and impactful. The numbers tell the story:
     Targeting 1.5 million voters identified with analytic modeling
     Executing more than 2.5 million door-knocks
     Raised nearly $8 million for door-to-door canvass operations
     Raised $15 million in overall turnout program, including direct mail and phone calls
    Midterm electorates are undoubtedly much different than presidential year electorates – but progressives are ready. Our coordinated activity is heavily clustered around the areas in which progressive turnout lagged in 2010. For example, a large portion of our activity is focused in the I-4 corridor and southeast Florida, and we’ve been heavily focused on Broward and Miami Dade Counties – which lagged statewide turnout by more than 6% in 2010.
    We know that when voters turn out, progressives win. That’s why progressives will be working tirelessly over the next 34 days to turn out our voters.
    About America Votes and Our Partners
    America Votes is the coordination entity for voting rights, issue advocacy and electoral work among our 32 Florida partners. Our coalition works to advance progressive causes through trusted messengers who connect with voters in a ways that is often difficult for political candidates and parties. These partners include issue advocacy groups like NextGen Climate and FL Planned Parenthood PAC; labor unions such as AFSCME, FEA and SEIU; and community groups rooted in neighborhood organizing, like Organize Now and Florida New Majority....

  2. Winner and loser of the week in Fla politics

    Blog

    Winner of the week

    John Thrasher. Congratulations to the soon-to-be new president of Florida State University. The selection process wasn't pretty, but in the end the capital's golden rule held true: Never bet against a Tallahassee insider.

    Loser of the week

    Florida Education Association. It took little time for a circuit judge to toss out the statewide teachers union's lawsuit challenging Florida's voucher programs...

  3. Could Democrats really lose as many as seven Florida House seats?

    Blog

    Florida Democrats are growing increasingly worried about their prospects in legislative races. One savvy Democratic operative last week predicted to The Buzz that Democrats will lose seven House seats in November, including three in Tampa Bay. The most-vulnerable Democrats? Mark Danish of Tampa, Dwight Dudley of St. Petersburg, Carl Zimmermann of Palm Harbor, Mike Clelland of St. Mary, Karen Castor Dentel of Maitland, Jose Javier Rodriguez of Miami and Linda Stewart of Orlando....

  4. Meet the billionaire who aleady has spent more than $6-million to beat Rick Scott

    Blog

    Charlie Crist is receiving generous support from trial lawyers and teachers in his campaign to unseat the lavishly funded Rick Scott, but his single-most important ally may prove to be California billionaire Tom Steyer.

    Steyer, a hedge-fund manager and environmental activist, is spending tens of millions of dollars in Florida and six other states to ensure climate change becomes the kind of wedge issue that tips elections. His political committee, NextGen Climate Action Committee, has already spent more than $6 million in Florida, considerably more than any of the other high-profile midterm races he is targeting in Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine and Michigan....

  5. Billionaire Steyer crucial to Crist's campaign

    State Roundup

    Charlie Crist is receiving generous support from trial lawyers and teachers in his campaign to unseat the lavishly funded Rick Scott, but his single-most important ally may prove to be California billionaire Tom Steyer.

    Steyer, a hedge-fund manager and environmental activist, is spending tens of millions of dollars in Florida and six other states to ensure climate change becomes the kind of wedge issue that tips elections. His political committee, NextGen Climate Action Committee, has already spent more than $6 million in Florida, considerably more than any of the other high-profile midterm races he is targeting in Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine and Michigan....

  6. Here's why you should vote for Rick Scott. And for Charlie Crist

    Blog

    Why should you vote for Charlie Crist? We make the case here

    Why should you vote for Rick Scott? We make the case here
     

    Charlie Crist or Rick Scott
  7. Adam C. Smith column: The case for Charlie Crist

    State Roundup

    Why should you vote for Charlie Crist to serve another term as Florida governor? First and foremost, because he's not Rick Scott.

    Nobody will argue Crist is a profile in courage, that he's a leader with depth and conviction or even that the Scott campaign is far off base saying Crist represents "everything you hate about politics."

    But for all of Crist's flip-flops, opportunism and spectacular self-absorption, he has at his core a deep understanding and love for the state of Florida. His gut instinct is to look out for the typical Floridian who on any given day may struggle to pay the power bill, fill up the gas tank or afford prescriptions....

    [ CAMERON COTTRILL | Times ]
  8. Adam C. Smith column: The case for Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    Why should you vote for Rick Scott to serve a second term as Florida governor? First and foremost, because he's not Charlie Crist.

    Gov. Scott is not TV-ready. He lacks Crist's easy charm, empathic arched eyebrows and great hair. Awkward is an understatement for the lanky former CEO who tends to stand before TV cameras with flailing arms, bulging eyes and a plastic smile.

    "But the bottom line for me is are you looking for somebody you want to go have a beer with or are you looking for somebody you want to run a $77 billion business that we call the state of Florida?" said state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon....

    Gov. Rick Scott speaks to a fifth-grade class at Miami’s Southside Elementary School late last month before a news conference with Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
  9. Deja vu? Wasserman Schultz: Rick Scott has given us the back of his hand

    Blog

    You remember a few weeks ago when DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz caused an uproar in saying Wisconsin Gov "“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand"? Turns out the overheated rhetoric was not entirely new. The south Florida congresswoman said the something similar about Gov. Rick Scott while attending Charlie Crist's primary victory party in Fort Lauderdale last month - before the Scott Walker comment blew up - although perhaps minus the domestic violence implication....

  10. Jeb raised $750k for 5 US Sen campaigns

    Blog

    The old Jeb Bush money gang gathered last night in Tampa to help the former governor and potential fiuture presidential candidate raise money for five Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls:  Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Monica Wehby of Oregon, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and, the only one who did not make the long trek, Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Some of the Florida's most elite GOP fundraisers in Florida, with last names like Sembler, Hoffman, Cobb, Petway. Cardenas, Kadre gathered at the Davis Islands home of John and Kim Kirtley and, we hear, hauled in at least $750,000 for the five candidates....

  11. Anti-internet tax group poll: Fla voters don't want internet sales tax

    Blog

    Does the wording of these questions sound rather loaded to you?

    The proposed legislation would allow tax enforcement agents from one state to collect taxes from online retailers based in a different state. For instance, if a customer in New York makes an Internet purchase from a retailer in Florida, the state of New York may make that retailer collect New York sales tax and send it to New York… Knowing this, do you favor or oppose federal legislation that changes how states collect sales tax from Internet purchases? (IF CHOICE MADE, ASK) Do you strongly (favor/oppose) this, or just somewhat (favor/oppose) it?...

  12. Winner and loser of the week in Fla politics

    Blog

    Winners of the week

    Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy. For Florida Democrats, one positive side of having no statewide officeholder in Tallahassee is that it's easier to look like a rising star. That's why a woman not even elected to office yet — Graham — and a one-term South Florida congressman — Murphy — would be mentioned by a fair number of our astute Florida Insiders as leading statewide contenders in 2016 or 2018....

  13. Florida Insider Poll: Scott to trump Crist; medical marijuana will pass

    State Roundup

    The race between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist for Florida governor has long been seen as a toss-up, and recent polls bolster the perception of a campaign that could go either way.

    But conventional wisdom among Florida's political elite has shifted decidedly in Gov. Scott's favor, the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll shows.

    When we surveyed more than 130 of Florida's savviest political hands seven weeks ago, a slight majority predicted that Scott would beat Crist. This week, two-thirds of our Florida Insiders — including 38 percent of the Democrats — said they expect Scott to beat former Gov. Crist....

    U.S. Congresmman Patrick Murphy, D
  14. The brand of Duke Energy is poison in Tampa Bay

    Blog

    That's why legislative candidates are falling over themselves to distance themselves from the utility and why the Democratic group NextGenClimate sent this flier against Rick Scott, following up on TV ads with a similar anti-Scott/anti-Duke message.

    This flier went to a Republican in Pinellas
  15. Political Connections Sun: Sheriff Judd predicts pot busts will soar if med marijuana passes

    Blog

    Ben Pollara, director of the United for Care group campaigning to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, appears with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd Sunday to debate the pros and cons of Amendment 2 on Political Connections on Bay News 9. Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Bay News 9 and Tampa Bay and News 13 in the Orlando area. Here's a clip.