Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement.

Alex is a graduate of Ithaca College (journalism/anthropology) and began his career at the Valley News in New Hampshire. Alex was born in La Crosse, Wis., and raised in upstate New York along with six brothers and sisters. He lives in Washington.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Florida man caps journey to urge Obama to stop deportations


    Francisco Diaz was never going to accomplish his goal Friday, but he pedaled up to the gate of the White House anyway, pressed the call button and told a guard he wanted to speak with President Obama. A guard told him he'd have to make an appointment.

    But for the 41-year-old Diaz, an undocumented immigrant who lives in Homestead, it capped a personal journey to bring attention to deportations. He had a translucent blue pen he wanted to give to Obama to sign an executive order stopping deportations....

    Francisco Diaz, who rode his bike to Washington from Florida, outside the White House on Friday
  2. Kendrick Meek among candidates who got illegal donations from Clinton backer


    A hotel magnate with ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton pleaded guilty Thursday to funneling illegal donations to three candidates, including Kendrick Meek, the former Florida congresssman who ran for Senate in 2010.

    Sant Singh Chatwal admitted using straw donors to move $180,000 to the candidates (the others have been identified as Hillary Clinton and former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecitcut). Chatwal then reimbursed the donors....

  3. Rubio headed west for fundraising


    Sen. Marco Rubio is going west - for campaign money.

    He's scheduled to begin a three-day fundraising swing in Seattle on Monday, with two events. The Florida Republican then heads to California for events in Sonoma, San Diego, Los Angeles and Tarzana.

    Rubio's fundraising committees pulled in about $1 million in the last quarter, pushing his overall total to about $9 million. He has $3 million in the bank. Where'd all that money go?...

  4. Gay Florida couple and son invited to White House Easter Egg Roll


    A gay couple from South Florida has been invited to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll with their son, an advocacy group said today.

    Melanie and Vanessa Alenier are among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Florida's ban on gay marriage....

    From left to right, Vanessa and Melanie Alenier during a January news conference
  5. In Miami, Rubio and Nelson renew call for sanctions against Venezuela


    By Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

    Florida’s two senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, joined forces Thursday in Miami to call for stepped up attention and potential sanctions from the U.S. against Venezuela for repressing political protests.

    To try to persuade their colleagues, Rubio said the Senate Foreign Relations committee on which he sits plans to hold a hearing soon on the ongoing unrest, with as-yet unnamed leaders of the Venezuelan opposition invited to testify....

  6. Pastors: Dennis Ross' objection to raising minimum wage is 'morally bankrupt'


    A group of pastors are criticizing Rep. Dennis Ross for dismissing calls to raise the minimum wage. Ross, R-Lakeland, made the comment during a town hall this week in Tampa. His position isn't novel among Republicans but the liberal group Think Progress was there to get it on video and spread it around....

  7. Archbishop: Jeb Bush has moved immigration debate forward


    Thomas G. Wenski, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Miami, writes a piece in the Miami Herald applauding Jeb Bush for his "act of love" comment about immigration.

    "With one three-word phrase, Gov. Bush has helped humanize these migrants — they are human beings who love their families, just as Americans do. This runs counter to the rhetoric of many shrill anti-immigrant voices and reframes the debate in human terms....

  8. A minimum wage debate breaks out at Rep. Dennis Ross town hall in Tampa


    The liberal group Think Progress is circulating this video of a town hall U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross held Tuesday in Tampa. A young man asks Ross if he'd support a higher minimum wage and the Lakeland Republican flatly says no, arguing it does not make economic sense.

    "The minimum wage is not a career wage," Ross said. "It's a wage to make sure that workers are not taken advantage of busienss ownesr. But “If we are going to make it a living wage, who’s going to pay for it?”...

  9. Lizbeth Benacquisto gets benefit of state GOP money in District 19 primary


    The Republican Party of Florida says it does not engage in GOP primaries, but nearly $300,000 of its money has landed in a Super PAC supporting congressional candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto, newly filed campaign finance records show.

    The money passed through several committees, illustrating how difficult it can be to trace, let alone determine an agenda. RPOF's response: We have no control once it leaves our coffers....

  10. Rubio, in Texas, says terrorists training in Syria could attack U.S.


    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio warned Tuesday that terrorists training in ungoverned swaths of Syria could "soon" attack American interests around the world — or even on the nation's home soil.

    The tea party darling and possible 2016 presidential hopeful gave a foreign policy speech sponsored by various groups at the University of Texas. That meant heading onto the home turf of two other potential future White House contenders: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rubio's Senate colleague and fellow grass-roots conservative champion Ted Cruz....

  11. Iowa poll shows Jeb Bush near front of GOP field


    Loras College (Iowa) Poll for potential 2016 potential candidates.

    Mike Huckabee---14.7 percent                       
    Jeb Bush---10.7 percent
    Rand Paul---8.5 percent
    Paul Ryan---8.3 percent
    Chris Christie---8.0 percent
    Ted Cruz---6.2 percent
    Marco Rubio---4.7 percent
    Rick Santorum---4.7 percent
    Scott Walker---4.7 percent
    Rick Perry---3.0 percent
    John Kasich---0.7 percent
    Other---0.7 percent
    Undecided---23.8 percent...

  12. Crist seeks to replicate Obama's email fundraising


    Boom. Roasted.

    That's the subject line of an email this afternoon from Charlie Crist's campaign, which plays off a video of Crist surprising Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera at an event. It's the kind of tactic popularized by Barack Obama and now used by virtually every campaign, Democrat or Republican, at dizzying frequency....

    Charlie Crist campaign email
  13. RPOF says it doesn't play in primaries but its money has in Benacquisto race


    The Republican Party of Florida says it does not engage in GOP primaries, but nearly $300,000 of its money has landed in a Super PAC supporting congressional candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto, newly filed campaign finance records show.

    The money passed through several committees, illustrating how difficult it can be to trace, let alone determine an agenda. RPOF's response: We have no control once it leaves our coffers....

    How $300,000 moved from RPOF to a Super PAC
  14. Ros-Lehtinen, who had Rubio as intern, says she's with Bush


    UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Ros-Lehtinen tweets: "I'm w/Marco also. Wasn't either/or. Both."

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told the Hill newspaper that if Jeb Bush decides to run, "I'm with him."

    The comment says a lot about where Florida Republicans lie in a possible clash between Bush and Marco Rubio, who interned for Ros-Lehtinen many years ago. ("I was a lot thinner and he had a lot more hair," she told CNN. 'But it's the same old Marco.")...

  15. Democratic spin ignores Jolly's vote against Ryan budget


    DCCC spin on Alex Sink's decision not to run for Congress again:

    “Pinellas residents have voted time and again for commonsense solutions instead of reckless partisanship, which is why we are confident our Democratic nominee can prevail on Election Day," DCCC chairman Steve Israel said in a statement.

    “In the last few weeks, Congressman David Jolly has become the latest face of the most reckless Republican Congress in modern history and he will be forced to campaign under the full weight of his party’s toxic brand in November: raising taxes on middle class families, ending the Medicare guarantee for seniors, and jeopardizing economic growth for businesses – all to give more to corporate special interests and the ultra-wealthy.”...