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. John Boehner talks up Jeb for president, again


    John Boehner is once again talking up Jeb Bush for president, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer that "he's got a real shot" at winning because of his record as governor.

    "He has a record of serious, big reforms," Boehne, said in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer. ...

    "He can talk about Republican issues better than most anybody that we've got out there," Boehner said of Bush. "He's got a real record of reform as governor of Florida."

    "And when you step back and look at what's likely to be the biggest issue in 2016, I think the issue is going to be competence," he said. "I think he could be a very competent candidate and could make that appeal."

    Asked about the prospects of two other possible contenders - Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio - Boehner said they would both be "great" candidates. He suggested Portman could win the GOP nomination despite his support for same-sex marriage because there are "very few one-issue voters out there."

  2. Kathy Castor wants federal investigation into pace of civil rights restoration in Florida


    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor wants the Justice Department to investigate whether nonviolent criminals are being denied civil rights restoration in "due to multi-year and bureaucratic requirements imposed by the Florida Clemency Board."

    “I believe that in operation Florida is violating the U.S. Constitution’s tenets of due process and equal protection,” the Tampa Democrat wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. “Therefore, I respectfully request that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation into whether legal action is warranted against the State of Florida for its effective bar on civil rights restoration for non-violent offenders."...

  3. Super PAC ad calls Southerland 'right for Florida'


    Freedom Parters Action Fund has launched an ad in support of Rep. Steve Southerland, highlighting his work on fishery issues and continuing attempts to paint Democrat Gwen Graham as an Obamacare loving liberal. (Graham has said she supports the Affordable Care Act but would like to see changes.)

    "Steve Southerland gets it," said Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis. The ad below will run for three weeks....

  4. Bush, Rubio to raise money for Scott


    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will headline an Oct. 24 fundraiser for Gov. Rick Scott, according to an invite.

  5. New ads fly in Southerland-Graham race


    The DCCC has two new ads out in the hotly contested Congressional District 2 race, going after Republican Rep. Steve Southerland for comments made about privatizing Social Security and for making it seem as though his $174,000 salary was not that much.

    The DCCC pointed to Social Security remarks Southerland made in 2010.

    The NRCC also released a new ad that notes Democrat Gwen Graham worked on Howard Dean's campaign, "when he proposed government-run health care."...

  6. Jeb Bush stumps for Pat Roberts in Kansas


    The following is from the Wichita Eagle:

    Calling the mood of the country “the most pessimistic it’s ever been,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged Kansas voters to re-elect Sen. Pat Roberts to take back control of the U.S. Senate for Republicans and end the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

    “He will not let you down,” Bush said at a Roberts fundraiser in Wichita on Monday, “and the greatness of America will be restored.”...

  7. Scott leads Crist by 4 points, Florida Chamber poll shows


    Rick Scott leads Charlie Crist 43-39, according to a new poll from the Florida Chamber.

    Libertarian Adrain Wyllie is taking 4 percent with five percent say they will vote for one of the other candidates and 7 percent are “firmly undecided,” reads a polling memo.

    The poll put Scott’s job approval rating at 49 percent. Crist’s favorability was lopsided - 39 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable. "Jobs and the economy (29 percent) continue to be the number one issue among voters, followed by education (19 percent) and healthcare (6 percent)."...

  8. In new ads, Southerland uses vets to decry Graham


    Steve Southerland has two new TV ads touting support from military vets. The vets in turn decry attacks from Democrat Gwen Graham.

    "I’m Luke Murphy. I served two tours in Iraq until a roadside bomb changed my life forever," one man says. "Through tough times and 31 surgeries, Steve Southerland was there for me. I was raised to believe that integrity matters. That's why Gwen Graham's false attacks against Steve are so shameful."...

  9. Radio ads in Florida seek to turn out Hispanic vote for Democrats


    The DNC is trying to drive out the Hispanic vote and has released this radio ad in Florida and Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada.

    "Republicans think we’re going to stay home," a narrator says. "They voted against our kids for a budget that could lay off 29,000 teachers and aides. They voted against our parents with a plan that would end Medicare as we know it. And time and time again they voted to protect their millionaire friends instead of raising the minimum wage to help you and your family. What they don’t understand is that our families still believe in the American dream. It’s time to rise up — we can’t stay at home."...

  10. Rubio to campaign with Steve Southerland


    Rubio to the rescue?

    Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled to campaign with Rep. Steve Southerland in Tallahassee on Oct. 21. Details are being worked out, a source says.

    Southerland, as anyone who reads this blog is keenly aware of, is locked in a tough re-election fight against Democrat Gwen Graham.

    Rubio will spend much of October on the campaign trail, including New Hampshire and other early primary states. He's scheduled to hit the road with Gov. Rick Scott, too....

  11. Gwen Graham's new ad blames Southerland for gov't shutdown


    Gwen Graham has a new ad criticizing Rep. Steve Southerland for his role in the government shutdown of 2013.

    “Believe me, I can handle Congressman Southerland’s campaign of lies and put-downs,” the Democrat says. “But his vote for the government shutdown? Now, that’s a problem. His shutdown hurt businesses and families. Seniors, and even our veterans.”...

  12. How polarizing was Eric Holder? Look no further than Florida


    This afternoon President Obama will formally announce that his attorney general, Eric Holder, is resigning. Holder had a contentious tenure and the polar opposite reactions from two Florida lawmakers sum it up:

    Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea party Republican from Ponte Vedra Beach, said: “Eric Holder's tenure has been marked by the politicization of justice, disrespect for the rule of law and Constitution, and suppression of the truth. He will be remembered for being held in contempt of Congress for stonewalling the Fast and Furious investigation and for conducting a sham investigation into the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. President Obama could hardly do worse when naming Holder's successor; my hope is that the President tries to do much better. Our people need to regain their lost confidence in the nation's commitment to the even-handed administration of justice." ...

  13. NRCC upping investment in Carlos Curbelo


    By Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald:

    The National Republican Congressional Committee said this week that it plans to spend $2.6 million in advertising in the contested race for Florida's 26th district.

    That's more than the $1.4 million the NRCC originally said it would use to go after U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Miami Democrat -- and more than the $900,000-plus the GOP's counterparts, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has said it expects to spend. (Roll Call has pegged the DCCC's spending in the race at $970,000.)...

  14. Rubio headed back to New Hampshire


    Marco Rubio will return to New Hampshire next month.

    He'll campaign with Senate candidate Scott Brown on Oct. 7, according to NH Journal. Rubio also issued a fundraising appeal today through his Reclaim America PAC. "Winning this seat is vital for Republicans to flip the Senate and end President Obama’s free ride," he wrote, noting "my good friend and former colleague Scott Brown is locked in a neck-and-neck race."...

  15. Mike Lee, Marco Rubio propose two tax brackets at 15 and 35 percent


    Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio are trying to inject ideas into the GOP and outlined some in a Wall Street Journal op/ed:

    Too many Americans believe the American dream is slipping away for them and their children. They see their cost of living rise while their paychecks remain stagnant. They see an economy that benefits stockbrokers but not stock clerks. They see the ladder of economic opportunity being pulled farther up and out of their reach....