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. Crist, Rich and other top Dems to hold unity events Thursday


    Charlie Crist and Nan Rich, rivals in today's lopsided Democratic gubernatorial primary, will join together with other Democratic leaders in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, the party said.

    From a news release:


    WHO: Gov. Charlie Crist, Sen. Nan Rich, Rep. Perry Thurston, Hon. George Sheldon, Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other Democratic leaders...

  2. Scott campaign, GOP paying big bucks for jet use

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott's campaign and the Republican Party of Florida have paid more than $227,000 for use of the private jet that Scott also uses for official state travel. The Cessna Citation is owned by a Naples business whose only officer is First Lady Ann Scott, at right. The jet tail number ends with the first lady's initials.

    Campaign finance reports list 19 separate payments to Ann Scott's company, Columbia Collier Management LLC. The most recent payment is also the largest one to date in the campaign, a $41,000 transaction to the Republican Party of Florida dated Aug. 15....

    This Cessna Citation is owned by a company whose only officer is Ann Scott.
  3. Curbelo, Domino to take on congressional Democrats


    Tonight’s congressional primaries lacked drama but we now have a clear sense of key matchups for November. Three races worth watching:

    In South Florida, Carlos Curbelo won the District 26 GOP primary for the right to challenge Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia of Miami. Expect that to be a noisy, costly battle.

    A bit north, Carl Domino beat the competition in District 18 and will face Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy. Once considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, Murphy has raised a lot of money, cast votes that appeal to Republicans, and had the fortune of a GOP field that lacked a rock star. Domino has deep pockets but will national Republicans back him up?...

  4. Immigration protesters interrupt Sen. Marco Rubio (w/video)

    State Roundup

    A year ago this month, Sen. Marco Rubio was heckled as he took the stage at a conservative gathering in Orlando.

    On Monday he faced heat over the same issue — immigration — but from demonstrators on the opposite side of the debate.

    A group of young activists interrupted a speech the Florida Republican was giving in South Carolina to accuse him of flip-flopping on support for Dreamers, the name given to undocumented immigrant youth....

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., listens to a speaker Monday at the “Faith and Freedom BBQ” hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan in Anderson, S.C.
  5. Rubio to Obama: Executive action on immigration could 'close the door' to reform in Congress


    Sen.  Marco Rubio wrote a letter to President Obama in advance of his expected executive action to legalize more undocumented immigrants.

    Dear Mr. President:

    As you know, last year I joined efforts in the Senate that successfully passed a bipartisan bill to address immigration. It was my hope that Senate action on this matter could serve as a catalyst for a humane but responsible reform that could ultimately achieve bicameral, bipartisan support. Instead, it led to the stalemate we now face on this issue....

  6. In dueling ads, Republicans-Graham fight over Obamacare


    In a new ad released this morning, the NRCC tries to attach Gwen Graham to Obamacare. Four hours later, Graham released her own ad saying the Affordable Care Act "has got to be changed so it works for North Florida."

    The NRCC ad repeats some frequently used claims that don't stand up, including that 300,000 Floridians are "losing coverage." Those policies, under Florida Blue, did not meet the standards of the new law and the customers were told they would be moved to a different plan. The Obama administration, in one of a series of changes to the law, later said the old plans could continue for a year....

  7. Dreamers heckle Rubio in South Carolina


    Sen. Marco Rubio was interrupted several times by Dreamers during an event in South Carolina tonight.

    ”I actually sympathize with what they're saying,” Rubio said in Anderson, according to the Associated Press.

    The Dreamers, named after the stalled Dream Act, were protesting Rubio’s recent comments that deferred action be ended. The Obama policy has given legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth. Rubio, who once worked on a similar legislation, says it should end.

    A video posted on YouTube showed part of the outburst, at Rep. Jeff Duncan’s annual “Faith and Freedom BBQ.” There were boos and one person yelled, “Go home.”...

  8. Bill Young spent a lot of campaign money on food, report finds


    USA Today crunched numbers to find lawmakers spent $14.5 million in donors' money on food since 2011. And the late Rep. Bill Young was "one of the bigger spenders."

    He racked up more than $240,000 in meal and food expenses, including dozens of bills from restaurants near his home in Woodbridge, Va. Almost always, the meals were described in federal records as feeding "constituents/visitors" although many of the eating establishments were more than 20 miles away from the U.S. Capitol and more than 700 miles away from his central Florida congressional district....

  9. Kathy Castor says state should not appeal gay marriage ruling


    Rep. Kathy Castor wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott and AG Pam Bondi urging them not to appeal the latest gay marriage ruling in Florida.

    "This should be an easy choice," the Tampa Democrat writes. (Read the letter here) On Thursday, U.S District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. A day later, the Florida Democratic Party also said the decision should not be appealed....

    Letter from Rep. Kathy Castor
  10. Rubio's August filled with fundraising, campaigning


    Sen. Marco Rubio has been on the move this summer, raising money and visiting key election states, including this evening in South Carolina where he’ll appear at a barbecue put on by Rep. Jeff Duncan.

    Rubio began his summer recess not by going home to Miami but catching a flight to Iowa, where on Aug. 2 he was a guest at a fundraiser for Senate candidate Joni Ernst, whom Rubio has endorsed. He was last in the state in June to campaign with Ernst....

  11. Should the 'Redskins' change team name? Nelson and Rubio weigh in


    For a Perspective piece Sunday, we looked at the debate over the Washington Redskins team name. Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio neatly capture the two responses from Capitol Hill.

    "We're in a day and age in which if there is something that is inappropriate we shouldn't be doing it," saidl Nelson, who joined 50 other senators in writing letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisting the Redskins name be retired....

    Washington Redskins
  12. Perspective: Pressuring for a Washington Redskins name change (w/video)



    He showed up at the bar for a birthday party, but J.C. Rocha was huddled near the big-screen TV in the corner. It was inevitable. When the Redskins are on, football rivals the city's obsession with politics.

    Increasingly, the passions are colliding. Washington's NFL team — one of America's best-known and profitable franchises — is facing pressure over the name, decried by critics as disparaging to American Indians, and the debate has spread to Capitol Hill....

    A Washington helmet sits on the turf during practice at the team’s NFL football training facility July 25.
  13. Jeb Bush talks with women leaders in Silicon Valley


    Jeb Bush was a featured guest at one of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s dinner receptions for women leaders.

    “Governor Bush was honored and delighted to accept Sheryl Sandberg's gracious invitation to meet with top tech and business leaders in Silicon Valley,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said after the Buzz asked if Bush attended.

    Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, hosts regular dinners at her Silicon Valley home....

  14. Judge rules Florida's gay marriage ban unconstitutional


    MIAMI (AP) -- A federal judge on Thursday declared Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

    U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida's constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples....

  15. New survey shows Common Core support declining

    State Roundup

    Public support for Common Core, the education standards heavily supported by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has suffered as more people learn about it, according to a new survey.

    While 80 percent of Americans have heard about Common Core, 60 percent oppose requiring teachers to use the standards to guide instruction, the survey by PDK/Gallup finds.

    Opposition among Republicans was at 76 percent. Among Democrats, it was 38 percent, and independents 60 percent....

    Jeb Bush has been a vocal supporter of Common Core, but Republicans oppose the standards and have attacked Bush’s stance on them.