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

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Corrine Brown calls redistricting decision 'seriously flawed'

    Blog

    Rep. Corrine Brown issued a statement tonight blasting as "seriously flawed" Judge Terry Lewis' decision on the redistricting maps. First, here's a primer on how Brown many years ago partnered with Republicans to carve out her bizarrely shaped district.  Brown joined a lawsuit against Fair Districts, and lost. The Legislature wrote the maps that retained her advantage. Today she suffered a setback....

  2. Bill Nelson wants child-proof nicotine capsules for e-cigs

    Blog

    Sen. Bill Nelson and four other Democrats today introduced legislation to require child-proof caps on liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

    “There’s enough nicotine in some of these bottles to kill small children, and even if a small amount spilled on a child’s skin it could make them extremely ill,” said Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

    A release put out by Nelson and others cites numbers from the American Association of Poison Control Centers showing have been more than 1,500 calls regarding liquid nicotine exposure so far this year – "a pace that will double last year’s total. And the 1,351 cases reported last year represented a 300 percent increase from 2012....

  3. Ringer candidate in middle of fed probe of ex-Rep. David Rivera sentenced to 7 months

    Blog

    By Jay Weaver, Miami Herald

    Justin Lamar Sternad, a hotel worker and father of five, just wanted to be somebody in the eyes of his family. So he set his sights on a seat in Congress.

    “I wanted my wife, children and family to be proud of me,” Sternad, 37, told a judge Thursday in Miami federal court.

    Despite his good intentions, Sternad admitted in so many words that he allowed GOP campaign consultant Ana Alliegro and her close friend, then-U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, to recruit him as a straw candidate to challenge Rivera’s political enemy, Joe Garcia, in the 2012 Democratic primary. Garcia went on to beat Rivera in the final election....

  4. Diaz-Balart: 'We are in effect abdicating our duty' by failing to take up immigration reform

    Blog

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, met with House leaders today who confirmed what has been clear: Immigration reform is dead this year.

    "It is disappointing and highly unfortunate, because we have a unique opportunity to secure the borders, fix our broken immigration system, and strengthen our economy," Diaz-Balart said during a news conference. "This system is not going to fix itself, and delaying a commonsense solution is only going to make matters worse as is evident by what is going on today with the crisis on the southern border....

  5. RPOF releases third TV ad this week in Scott-Crist race

    Blog

    Third TV ad this week from the Republican Party of Florida, this one saying Rick Scott is the "better governor" than Charlie ("nice tan") Crist. RPOF would not release details of the ad buy.

    The script is below. THE AD

    VOICE: Nice sunset. Nice tan. But what’s the real choice between Charlie Crist and Governor Scott?

    CHYRON: Rick Scott. Charlie Crist.

    VOICE: Charlie Crist slashed state education by nearly 1.4 billion dollars.

    CHYRON: Slashed state education funding by $1.39 billion. Charlie Crist. Florida Department of Education.

    VOICE: Under Rick Scott, education funding is at an all-time high.

    CHYRON: Rick Scott. Education funding at an all-time high. Tampa Bay Times, 6/2/14.

    THE FACTS

    Charlie Crist’s Last Budget Left K-12 Schools With Nearly $1.4 Billion Less In State Funding Than His First Budget. In the first budget Charlie Crist signed (FY 2007-2008), total K-12 funding was at $18,751,344,667. In the last budget Charlie Crist, signed (FY 2010-2011), total K-12 funding was at $17,353,385,926. The difference is $1,397,958,741. (“Ten Year History Of State and Local School Funding,” Florida Department of Education)

    Under Rick Scott’s Budget, “The Bottom Line-Number For K-12 Schools Of $20.7 Billion In The Largest In History …” (Steve Bousquet, “Florida Gov. Rick Scott Signs State Budget, Vetoes Just $69 Million In Spending,” The Tampa Bay Times, 6/2/14)

    THE AD

    VOICE: Governor Crist lost eight hundred thousand jobs.

    CHYRON: Lost 832,000 Jobs. Charlie Crist. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    VOICE: Scott helped create nearly six hundred thousand jobs.

    CHYRON: Rick Scott. Helped create 583,000 private-sector jobs. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    THE FACTS

    Under Charlie Crist, From December 2006 To December 2010, Florida Lost 832,000 Jobs.” (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/10/14)

    Under Rick Scott, Since December 2010, Florida Has Created 583,000 Private-Sector Jobs.” (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/10/14)

    THE AD

    VOICE: Crist maxed out the state credit card.

    CHYRON: Ran up 5.2 billion in debt. Charlie Crist. Division of Bond Finance, December 2012.

    VOICE: Scott reduced state debt by 3 billion.

    CHYRON: Rick Scott. Reduced state debt by $3 billion.

    VOICE: Charlie Crist: he’s smooth. Rick Scott? He’s the better governor.

    CHYRON: Rick Scott: The Better Governor.

    THE FACTS

    Under Charlie Crist, Florida’s Debt Increased By $5.2 Billion. (State Of Florida 2012 Debt Affordability Report, Division Of Bond Finance, December 2012)

        $23.0 Billion: Florida's Debt During Fiscal Year 2006. (State Of Florida 2012 Debt Affordability Report, Division Of Bond Finance, December 2012)  

        $28.2 Billion: Florida's Debt During Fiscal Year 2010, An All Time High. (State Of Florida 2012 Debt Affordability Report, Division Of Bond Finance, December 2012)

    Under Rick Scott, Florida’s Debt Decreased By $3.6 Billion.  (Lloyd Dunkelberger, "State Debt Drops," The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/6/13)

        $28.2 Billion: Florida's Debt During Fiscal Year 2010, An All Time High. (State Of Florida 2012 Debt Affordability Report, Division Of Bond Finance, December 2012)  

        $24.6 Billion: Florida's Debt During Fiscal Year 2013. "The amount of money Florida has borrowed to pay for roads, schools and other programs declined to $24.6 billion as of June 30 and is $3.6 billion below the peak of $28.2 billion reached in 2010."  (Lloyd Dunkelberger, "State Debt Drops," The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/6/13)  ...

  6. Rubio and Nelson say children at border must be cared for but sent home

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio in an interview today said the children who have shown up at the U.S. border must be turned back.

    "We do have to treat people the way Americans always treat people, with the highest level of compassion and care," he said on the Michael Medved radio show. "But they will have to be returned because that is the law. If you don't apply that, as heart breaking as it may be, you are basically telling another 80,000 people to try to come."...

  7. Florida poll shows broad public support for immigration reform

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Immigration reform has flatlined in Congress, but Florida voters overwhelmingly support changes and reject the Republican contention that a lack of enforcement of current law is reason not to act, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

    Sixty-seven percent of voters said they support a plan that secures the borders, mandates employee verification, expands work visas and provides a path to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents while providing other undocumented residents legal status, according to the poll for the pro-reform Partnership for a New American Economy....

  8. Lenny Curry raising big money for Jax mayoral race

    Blog

    From the Florida Times-Union:

    Lenny Curry, the former head of the Florida Republican Party challenging Mayor Alvin Brown’s re-election bid next year, raised more than $560,000 in the 27 days since filing last month, his campaign buoyed by significant financial support from well-known local Republicans as well as donations from leading statewide figures like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush....

  9. YOLO: Charlie Crist raising money today in Fort Lauderdale

    Blog

    Charlie Crist will raise money tonight at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant called YOLO - You Only Live Once.

    Crist, of course, is trying to live twice as Florida's governor. The invite shows tickets range from $100 to $1,000. Hosts include David W. Singer; Michael Moskowitz; Mitchell Berger; Sharon Berger; Andrew Sossin; Bruce Udol;f Russel Lazega; Todd Stone; Peter Walsh; Phil Freiden; Stephen L. Malove; Creativ Management Company, Inc.; Frank Ortis; Robert Rubenstein; Martin Schwartz; Paul Galsterer; and Robert E. Gluck....

  10. GOP continues ad assault in Crist-Scott race

    Blog

    Charlie Crist released his first TV ad this week ... but his opponents continued their assault. The Republican Party of Florida has two new ads this week, one attacking Crist's record and the other a pro-Rick Scott piece in Spanish.

    ...

  11. Florida poll shows broad public support for immigration reform

    Blog

    While immigration reform is flatlined in Congress, Florida voters overwhelmingly support changes and reject the Republican contention that a lack of enforcement of current law is reason not to act, according to a poll to be released today.

    Sixty-seven percent of voters said they support a plan that secures the borders, provides E-verify, expands visas for high-skilled and farm workers and provides a path to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents while providing other undocumented residents legal status, according to survey for the pro-reform Partnership for a New American Economy....

  12. Cleveland is the new Tampa, snagging 2016 GOP convention

    Blog

    Cleveland beat out Dallas to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The RNC went with a swing state, as it did in 2012 with Tampa.

    There's a strong chance Cleveland won't have to contend with a tropical storm, which forced organizers to cancel the first day of the Tampa convention....

    The 2012 Republican National Convention got off to a rough start
  13. Q poll: GOP presidential field lacks front-runner; Bush tops Rubio

    Blog

    From a national Quinnipiac poll out this morning:

    The GOP primary shows U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 11 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 10 percent each, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with 8 percent each, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio with 6 percent, no other candidate over 3 percent, with 20 percent undecided....

  14. Report: Cuban government may have tried to plant prostitution story against Sen. Robert Menendez

    Blog

    The Washington Post has a riveting tale that suggests the Cuban government worked to plant a wild story last year that U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a vocal critic of the Castros. The allegations were investigated by the FBI's office in Miami. The story is as follows:...

  15. Homeland Security chief in Miami today before going to Guatemala to address immigration influx

    Blog

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who yesterday visited the National Hurricane Center, continues his stay in Miami today with meetings at U.S. Southern Command.

    Then Johnson will travel to Guatemala with SOUTHCOM Commander Gen. John Kelly and Counselor to the Department of State Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon to speak with government officials about the influx of young immigrants at the southern border. It's a widening crisis for the Obama administration and fraught with practical complications and politics....