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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. Bush, Rubio to face off at Koch brothers' California conference


    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will share the first debate stage later this week in Cleveland, but today in California, they face off in one of the invisible primaries of the 2016 presidential election.

    The Florida Republicans this afternoon will appear at a conference organized by the Koch brothers, who have poured hundreds of millions into conservative politics. While Charles and David Koch have signaled they will not pick a preferred candidate during the primaries, many wealthy donors will be assembled at the conference. Rubio appeared at a similar gathering in January and impressed the crowd....

    U.S. Congrerssman Ron DeSantis, R
  2. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush Super PACs outline donors behind their hauls

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — In a stunning illustration of the shift in the financing of political campaigns, a Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush for president disclosed Friday it had raised $103 million from an array of rich donors and special interests.

    A Super PAC backing Marco Rubio reported $16 million — dwarfed by Bush, yet still impressive compared with other candidates.

    The Florida Republicans are among the top candidates vying for the nomination, a fight that will likely be dragged out due to the influence of money pouring into Super PACs and other outside groups....

    Times analysis of Federal Election Commission data for Jeb Bush's Right to Rise super PAC, by Eli Murray.
  3. Marco Rubio: People should be more 'fired up' about Planned Parenthood babies than Cecil the lion


    Marco Rubio told TMZ that people should be more "fired up" about the babies shown in Planned Parenthood videos as they are about the Cecil the lion....

  4. Jeb Bush Super PAC outlines donors behind $103 million haul


    By Alex Leary, Eli Murray and Kirby Wilson

    The Right to Rise Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush has filed its report with the FEC this morning, showing the source of the eye-popping $103 million it has raised since January.

    Of that, $29.4 million came from Florida donors. The committee pulled at least $8.5 million from New York, showing Wall Street power.

    More than $90 million was raised before June 15, when Bush became an official candidate and was openly working with the committee. Campaign finance watchdogs have filed complaints with the FEC over that arrangement, but Bush's camp insists he is on safe legal footing....

    Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks in Longwood, Fla. A dozen million-dollar contributors account for at least 10 percent of Bush’s record-setting presidential fundraising haul. The big-money boosters propelled Right to Rise, a super PAC dedicated to helping Bush win the Republican nomination, to its $103 million total in the first six month of the year.
  5. Bill Nelson vows to use 'all available procedural options' to block attempt on Gulf oil drilling


    Sen. Bill Nelson sent a letter Thursday to Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid saying he would use “all available procedural options” to block a measure to repeal the ban on offshore drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast.

    The move comes after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved, by a 12-10 vote, legislation to lift the moratorium. “The GOP-backed measure would allow oil and gas rigs to operate as close as 50 miles to much of Florida’s Gulf Coast – which would undo protection of the state’s Gulf Coast dating back some four decades,” Nelson’s office said....

  6. 'Inclusive' Jeb Bush? Democratic group says no way


    A "pre-buttal" memo in from the liberal American Bridge:

    TO: Interested Parties

    FROM: Eddie Vale, Vice President, American Bridge 21st Century

    RE: "Inclusive?" Jeb's Record Of Failing African Americans

    DATE: July 31st, 2015

    Jeb Bush is speaking today at the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale, but he gave Americans a preview of his thoughts on African Americans last week when he dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement as "a slogan." With twinges of the same Bush who said he'd do "probably nothing" for African Americans during his first run for governor, his record is chock full of indifference toward black Floridians. He repeatedly failed to respond to issues caused by his own administration's negligence. Bush's resume reads like the out-of-touch Republican he is: End affirmative action, purge voter rolls, disenfranchise voters, and sign a Stand Your Ground law....

  7. Hillary Clinton in Miami: 'The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all'


    Excerpts from Hillary Clinton's speech today in Miami:

    "We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come. Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their leaders to either get on board or get out of the way.

    "The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers the Cuban private sector, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban-American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime....

  8. Jeb Bush to National Urban League: 'There are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country'


    Jeb Bush in his address Friday to the National Urban League will talk about a “listening and learning” phase following his 1994 campaign in which he made comments that were offensive to African-Americans, play up charter schools, criticize a "losing" war on poverty and discuss his decision as governor to take down the Confederate flag.

    “I know that there are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country. Some we can see, others are unseen but just as real,” reads Bush’s speech, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. “So many lives can come to nothing, or come to grief, when we ignore problems, or fail to meet our own responsibilities. And so many people could do so much better in life if we could come together and get even a few big things right in government. I acted on that belief as governor of Florida. It’s a record I’ll gladly compare with that of anyone else in the field....

  9. Jeff Miller will not run for U.S. Senate, focus on VA instead


    Rep. Jeff Miller will not run for U.S. Senate, saying he will focus on fixing the "toxic culture" at the VA.

    The North Florida Republican had been strongly considering entering the race for Marco Rubio's seat and said he would announce a decision after August.

    But today he warned of a presidential veto of his Accountability Act.

    "It became clear to me that this Administration is not committed to reforming the VA," Miller said in a statement. "My personal commitment to the veterans of this country is greater than my desire to seek higher office....

  10. Ted Cruz, Rick Perry launch attacks on Jeb Bush


    Ted Cruz today attacked Jeb Bush as soft on Iran, the second day in a row that a Republican rival has taken a shot at Bush.

    Appearing on a radio show the Texan said the billions of dollars Iran would get would lead to deaths and anyone who doesn't speak up bears responsibility. "One of the reasons Republicans keep getting clobbered is we have leaders like Mitt Romney and like Jeb Bush who are afraid to say that," Cruz said on the Chad Hasty show....

  11. RNC adds three top staffers in Florida


    The RNC is solidifying its presence in Florida, adding a staff director and two other top operatives to work on the 2016 elections.

    Brian Barrett will serve as state director. Alex Garcia is deputy state director and director of Hispanic initiatives, and Ben Shankle is coming as data direction.

    “The RNC is building the largest, earliest and most data focused field program in GOP history,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a release. “This new wave of staff will help us train our team, register voters, and meet one-on-one with activists, to build our infrastructure now in order to hand our eventual nominee a fully functional ground operation on day one.”...

  12. Donald Trump clear Republican leader in new national poll, ahead of Walker and Bush


    Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican pack for president, taking 20 percent of Republican voters, comfortably ahead of Scott Walker with 13 percent and Jeb Bush with 10 percent, according to a Quinnipiac national poll released this morning.

    But Trump, in a further sign of worry for the GOP, trails any of the three leading Democratic candidates by “wide margins,” the poll found....

  13. Alan Grayson fails to file FEC form


    Alan Grayson failed to file a statement of candidacy for his U.S. Senate bid, the FEC website shows....

  14. Rubio and Bush: Clinton wrong on Cuba


    Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush react to Hillary Clinton's planned speech Friday calling for an end of the Cuban embargo.

    Rubio: "After Secretary Clinton's failed 'reset' with Putin, now she wants to do a 'reset' with Castro. She is making another grave mistake. Unilateral concessions to the Castros will only strengthen a brutal, anti-American regime 90 miles from our shore. President Obama and Secretary Clinton must learn that appeasement only emboldens dictators and repressive governments, and weakens America's global standing in the 21st century. As president, I will stand with the Cuban people and only support an end to the embargo that is accompanied by real democratic reform."...