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. Chinese government pays for trip by aides to Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen


    WASHINGTON — Top aides to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, two of the most vehement anti-Communist voices in Washington, took an all expenses paid trip to China this month courtesy of the Chinese government.

    Sally Canfield, deputy chief of staff to Rubio, and Arthur Estopinan, chief of staff to Ros-Lehtinen, were part of a congressional staff trip facilitated by the U.S.-Asia Institute....

    A Chinese couple walks outside the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square on June 2, in Beijing, China. Twenty-five years ago on June 4, 1989, Chinese troops cracked-down on pro-democracy protesters leaving scores dead and injured.  [Getty Images]
  2. Jeb Bush's education foundation: Lee County 'neglecting its duty'


    Jeb Bush's education foundation today issued a strongly-worded rebuke of the Lee County decision to opt-out of state mandated tests, a pillar of Bush's legacy.

    "We are deeply disappointed by the Lee County School Board’s vote to abandon Florida’s academic tests and with it, their responsibility for the success of the community’s students," Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, wrote in a statement. “Not only do these academic checkups provide an honest assessment to parents of how their children are progressing in school, they also prepare students for the future because tests are a part of life....

  3. Rubio's 2010 campaign manager enters craft beer biz


    Jose Mallea, who managed Marco Rubio's blockbuster 2010 U.S. Senate campaign, has a new title: Beer maker.

    Mallea is a co-owner of Biscayne Bay Brewing Co. in Miami and, according to this photo from Instagram, the first brew has was born yesterday.

    Mallea worked on Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential bid and is an official with the Libre Initiative....

    Jose Mallea, center, and partners of Biscayne Bay Brewing
  4. Florida congressional candidate gets Super PAC boost -- from his father


    In Florida, we’ve seen the friend-of-candidate Super PAC, blurring lines between the distance supposedly expected of outside groups and the candidate. Now comes the parent-of-candidate Super PAC.

    The father of Gabriel Rothblatt, a Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge, has poured $225,000 so far into Space PAC, records show, blowing past the $2,600 contribution limit for Rothblatt’s general election campaign. Rothblatt is not considered a threat to Posey, but the Super PAC is worth noting for the trend it represents in outside money....

  5. Lee County votes to opt out of statewide tests, Common Core


    The following is from the Fort Myers News-Press:

    Lee Schools made history Wednesday night when they voted to become the first school district in the state to opt out of all statewide, standardized tests.

    "Sometimes it takes an act of civil disobedience to move forward," said board member Don Armstrong. "We cannot allow the fear to hold us back."

    The motion passed three to two with the support of board members Armstrong, Tom Scott and Mary Fischer. The decision was received with overwhelming cheers and applause in the packed auditorium of opt-out supporters who donned red in an act of solidarity.

    Fischer, who was initially reluctant to support the vote, served as the vote's tie breaker.

    "No matter what else is going on, teachers go on and they teach the students," she said. "If this is our window of opportunity, I hope we make the best of it."...

  6. As Scott talks about review of education standards, Jindal sues feds over Common Core


    As Gov. Rick Scott order a "review" of Florida's education standards -- Common Core in all but name -- his counterpart in Louisiana today filed a lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to stop the controversial standards.

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards...

  7. Rubio, Bush back winning candidates in Florida primaries


    Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush had good primary nights.

    Rubio endorsed and cut an ad for Julio Gonzalez in the heated state House District 74 race. Rubio also put his name behind Mike Miller in HD 47.

    Jeb Bush did well, too, backing Carlos Curbelo in the U.S. House District 26 primary as well as Carol Platt, who won her central Florida primary and will face U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in November....

  8. 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...

  9. 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.
  10. 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?...

  11. 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....

    Protesters shout at Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as supporters try to usher them out during U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan’s “Faith and Freedom BBQ” in Anderson, S.C., on Monday.
  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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.”...