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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. Gwen Graham raising money in Tampa


    U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has a who's-who list of list of backers for a fundraiser in Tampa today. The first-term Democrat from Tallahassee is one of the GOP's top targets in Florida.

    Gwen Graham fundraising notice
  2. Jeb Bush, now and then, on same-sex marriage


    In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Jeb Bush talked of judicial restraint and appointing the right people to the bench.

    “Right now, we should focus on defending religious liberty by protecting those who act on their conscience and appointing judges who understand the limits placed on them by the Constitution,” his spokeswoman said, when asked about a Constitutional amendment proposed by Scott Walker....

  3. Jeb Bush calls Confederate flag a 'racist' symbol


    Campaigning in South Carolina today, Jeb Bush offered his strongest remarks on the Confederate flag, calling it a "racist" symbol.

  4. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio criticized in TV ad about climate change, Pope Francis


    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are featured in a TV ad criticizing Republicans for not heeding Pope Francis’ “urgent moral call” on climate change.

    The ad from Americans United for Change is running on TV and radio in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, IA and Manchester, NH. "Paid digital ads on Twitter and Facebook will also encourage voters in these early primary states to view the ads at," the group says....

  5. Jeb Bush meets with 60 clergy in Charleston


    From the Post and Courier in Charleston:

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush met with about 60 clergy from North and South Carolina today behind closed doors at a North Charleston hotel.

    Those who attended the meeting, which was closed to the media, said afterward that Bush told them about his personal story and beliefs and took questions on his political stances. He only lightly addressed this month’s shootings at the Emanuel AME Church that killed nine....

  6. Jeb Bush Super PAC preps for TV spending in Florida


    The Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush is looking at television advertising in Florida, according to documents filed with the FCC.

    Right to Rise USA sought advertising rates from WFTX-TV in the Naples/Fort Myers area. The stated issue is “2016 presidential primary election.” (@KevinCate was first to spot the paperwork.)

    The committee is run by Mike Murphy, who is based in Los Angeles....

  7. Rubio draws support from prominent Jewish leader, fundraiser


    The following is from Jewish Insider, which reports on Phil Rosen backing Marco Rubio. Rosen is a formidable figure on his own but is also close to Sheldon Adelson, whom Rubio is courting.

    Phil Rosen, a co-chair of Weil Gotshal’s real estate practice and well-known Jewish leader, has officially endorsed Marco Rubio and will serve as a foreign policy advisor for the campaign. Rosen, one of Mitt Romney’s top bundlers in 2012, was highly sought after by several candidates. Rosen told Jewish Insider, “For several months I’ve been talking with most of the 2016 Republican field about their individual campaigns, paths to victory and policy positions.” Rosen noted that although he’s impressed with the candidates and finds this cycle’s field to be “light years ahead of, and better than most of, the 2012 candidates,” he made the “difficult” decision to “throw my weight behind Senator Marco Rubio.”...

  8. Florida Republicans mostly silent on gay marriage


    When the Supreme Court saved Obamacare, Florida’s Republican members of Congress reacted with swift condemnation. But there was near silence a day later when the court made its landmark gay marriage ruling — illustrating how quickly public opinion has shifted.

    We reviewed official websites and found that only three of the 17 Republicans issued statements. And two of those — Miami Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo — praised the ruling....

  9. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of June 29


    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of June 29.

    Rubio has events in Kentucky today and California tomorrow.

    Bush begins Monday in Charleston, meeting privately (no press) with pastors after the massacre of nine black worshipers at a church. He then goes to West Columbia to visit Nephron Pharmaceutical Company. He has an evening fundraiser in Atlanta. On Saturday, the Fourth of July, Bush campaigns at parades in Amherst and Merrimack, N.H....

  10. Florida lawmakers in Washington travel large


    From Ledyard King of Gannett:

    WASHINGTON — Florida’s federal lawmakers and their staffs took 103 privately sponsored trips in 2014 valued at more than $350,000, according to records filed with the House Clerk’s Office.

    Foreign destinations included Sweden, Peru and Japan. But lawmakers also spent time in Florida examining ways to protect the Everglades and in the Washington area learning about strategies for running a congressional office....

  11. Jeb hugs a former Democrat


    Who knew Jeb Bush was such a softie?

    Here he is in Nevada today hugging a man who said he used to be a Democrat. Bush in New Hampshire recently hugged a disabled woman.

    "Had to give Fernando a hug after he told me he’s now a Republican after spending 50 years as a Democrat," Bush wrote on Twitter.


  12. Jeb Bush to meet with pastors in Charleston


    Jeb Bush will return to Charleston on Monday and meet privately with pastors, his campaign said.

    The racially motivated church massacre happened on the eve of Bush’s last visit and he canceled.


  13. Supreme Court declares 5-4 that same-sex marriage is constitutional right


    WASHINGTON — Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right anywhere in the United States, the Supreme Court ruled Friday, a historic moment for the gay rights movement that reflects a dramatic shift in public opinion.

    "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Justice Anthony Kennedy said, reading from the majority opinion, while some in the audience fought tears....

    A demonstrator waves a flag with an equality sign while underneath a large flag with the same symbol held by other protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court will rule soon on Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases, which will decide whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. [Doug Mills  |  The New York Times]
  14. Perspective: When Jeb took down the Confederate flag in 2001

    State Roundup

    In 2001, after he had the Confederate flag removed from the state Capitol, then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was besieged with criticism. In angry email after email, critics called the decision a cave-in to political correctness and an affront to Southern pride and history.

    As debate over the Confederate flag dominated the news and became an issue on the presidential trail, Bush's decision, a faded memory for many, provides a useful look back at the emotion surrounding the issue. In a different era, Bush quietly took the flag down, sent it to a museum and stood by his decision when the politics were quite different than last week's groundswell against the flag. His toughest critics said Bush would pay a political price; he did not. The following year Bush became the first Republican governor in Florida to win a second term. (Emails appear as they were written.)...

    A version of the Confederate flag — the “Stainless Banner” — flew outside the Florida Capitol in 1996.
  15. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio disagree with Scott Walker's call for Constitutional amendment on gay marriage


    Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker blasted the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage as a “grave mistake” and called for a Constitutional amendment allowing states to define marriage.

    “As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” he said....

    Candidates for the Republican presidential nomination Jeb Bush, left, and Marco Rubio.