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. U.S. Attorney General Holder to Rick Scott: We're watching you


    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this month sent a scathing letter to Gov. Rick Scott over voting changes in Florida and issued a warning that the Justice Department is “carefully monitoring” the state.

    “Whenever warranted by the facts and the law, we will not hesitate to use all tools and legal authorities at our disposal to fight against racial discrimination, to stand against  disenfranchisement and to safeguard the right of ever eligible American to cast a ballot,” Holder wrote....

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's letter to Gov. Rick Scott
  2. Rubio starts August recess in Iowa


    Sen. Marco Rubio is headed out of D.C. for the August recess -- but he's making a pit stop in Iowa.

    The Des Moines Register reports that Rubio will be the special guest at a private fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, whom Rubio has endorsed....

  3. Florida Republicans vote to approve lawsuit against Obama; Democrats decry it as a waste


    The House voted along party lines this evening to approve a lawsuit against President Obama, alleging he overstepped the powers of his office. At issue is Obama's decision to delay the employer mandate under Obamacare. Republicans oppose that mandate and the health care law in general but said Obama's action defied a law and were ground for a suit. Both sides have used the issue to rally their base....

  4. Rubio supports medical marijuana — but only the noneuphoric kind

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio came out Wednesday in support of the use of medical marijuana, but only the noneuphoric type approved by the Florida Legislature.

    "If there are medicinal uses of marijuana that don't have the elements that are mind-altering or create the high but do alleviate whatever condition it may be they are trying to alleviate, that is something I would be open to," the Florida Republican said....

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said he supports only  noneuphoric strains of marijuana for pain relief.
  5. Rubio comes out in limited support of medical marijuana


    Sen. Marco Rubio this afternoon said he supports the use of medical marijuana but only the noneuphoric type approved by the Florida Legislature.

    "If there are medicinal uses of marijuana that don't have the elements that are mind-altering or create the high but do alleviate whatever condition it may be they are trying to alleviate, that is something I would be open to," he said....

    Sen. Marco Rubio talks with reporters in his Washington office on July 30, 2014.
  6. Frankel joins in Democratic fundraising frenzy over Obama lawsuit/impeachment talk


    Democrats are feasting on dollars raised amid played up concerns over a lawsuit House Republicans are pushing against President Obama and talk of impeachment - talk Republicans accuse Democrats of stoking despite only scattered calls for impeachment.

    South Florida Rep. Lois Frankel is happily joining the frenzy, which the DCCC claims raked in $1 million alone on Monday. The already active fundraiser Frankel has been sending out alarming sounding emails about the lawsuit, which accuses Obama of exceeding authority on health care....

    Fundraising email
  7. Hillary Clinton: End the Cuban embargo


    Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Fusion airing tonight, repeats her call to end the Cuban embargo.

    "I think it has propped up the Castro's because they can blame everything on the embargo," she told host Jorge Ramos. "You don't have freedom of speech, you don't have freedom of expression, you know, you're still having political prisoners, everything is blamed on the embargo.

    "I would like to see us move toward normalizing relations eventually and therefore more Americans back and forth. That's something president Obama did and I supported the first term. We do have our own political prisoner in Cuba, Alan Gross, a man who's been, you know, thrown into prison and not being given a chance to come home to his family so I'd like to see that resolved. And I would like to see us move toward ending the embargo and trying to, by our example, by commerce, by all kinds of visits, you know, help the Cuban people have a different future"...

  8. Jeff Miller helps strike VA deal


    Florida Rep. Jeff Miller today announced a $17 billion legislative package aimed at fixing problems at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Now he has to sell it to fellow House members, while Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., has that job in his chamber.

    From the Associated Press:

    The agreement includes $10 billion in emergency spending to make it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with Veterans Affairs doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees said. The bill also would expand a scholarship program for veterans to include surviving spouses of military members who died in the line of duty, allow all veterans to qualify for in-state college tuition, and grant the VA secretary authority to immediately fire senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights.

    The compromise measure would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can’t get prompt appointments at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics, or those who live at least 40 miles from one of them. The bill would limit the number of veterans who can get outside care by restricting it to those who are enrolled as of Aug. 1.

  9. Gwen Graham highlights father's 'workdays' in new ads


    Gwen Graham has two new TV ads that feature her father and his famous "workdays."

    "Workdays keep you in touch with the people most affected by what you do," Bob Graham, the former governor and U.S. senator, says in one of the ads.

    The spots will run in Tallahassee and Panama City markets, her campaign said, and come as she and her father and other family members begin an eight-day, 14-county trip through the 2nd Congressional District....

  10. Widespread support for medical marijuana in Florida, poll shows


    Eighty-eight percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana, a new Quinnipiac poll finds.

    From a news release:

    Florida voters support legalized marijuana for medical use 88 – 10 percent, with support ranging from 83 – 14 percent among voters over 65 years old to 95 – 5 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today....

  11. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


    Winner of the week

    Adrian Wyllie. The Libertarian gubernatorial candidate from Palm Harbor has nearly zero chance of being elected governor in November, but now it looks like he won't be ignored either. A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed Wyllie emerging as a potential spoiler, pulling 9 percent support and helping Gov. Rick Scott narrow Charlie Crist's lead to a virtual dead heat....

  12. Why is Bob Buckhorn so subdued about Charlie Crist's campaign?

    State Roundup

    How boring: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is poised to skate into a second term next March without a serious challenge. So let's forget about 2015 and consider instead what 2018 means for Mayor Bob.

    Barring a giant surprise over the next few months, either Rick Scott at that point will be winding down his second term as governor or Democrat Gov. Charlie Crist will be preparing to run for re-election. Which scenario would the ambitious Buckhorn prefer? If he harbors any ambitions to be governor, he clearly is better off if Crist loses this year....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat,  says Scott “has been particularly good to Tampa.”
  13. Another Florida judge rules against gay marriage ban


    By Steve Rothaus, Miami Herald

    MIAMI — For the second time in eight days, a South Florida circuit judge has declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry.
    Late Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ordered that six same-sex couples who sued Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin for marriage licenses in January should be allowed to wed....

  14. Curt Clawson's 'intensely awkward' Capitol Hill debut


    Rookie Florida Rep. Curt Clawson made a major faux pas at a Foreign Affairs hearing on Thursday, mistaking two U.S. government officials for Indian government representatives.

    Foreign Policy called it "intensely awkward." From the FP blog:...

    Curt Clawson celebrates along with a cheering crowd at his election party at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla., after officially winning the special election in the Congressional District 19 Republican primary in April.
  15. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to 'wind down' program for immigrant youth


    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday called for an end to President Barack Obama's program that grants legal status to immigrant youth brought to the United States by their parents.

    "The U.S. must also make clear that the Deferred Action program, or any law or policy for that matter, does not and will not apply to any recent arrivals," read a statement Rubio issued after a meeting with Central American presidents. "Furthermore, because the recent wave from Central America spiked after (Deferred Action) was announced, it is in our interest to wind down this program. If you are not currently in it, you should not be eligible for it. For President Obama to raise hopes it may actually be unilaterally expanded is irresponsible and threatens to make this problem even worse."...

    Sen. Marco Rubio is eyeing a run for president in 2016.