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Steve Contorno - Times Political Editor

Times Political Editor

My title is "Political Editor" but really I write about power (the people who have it and those who want it) and influence (the good kind and the less altruistic). There's never a shortage of stories about either in Florida. The best ones hold your elected leaders accountable and expose the unelected powers pulling the levers. That's what I'm focused on. I started out covering politics in my home state of Illinois, with stints in Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, D.C., before settling in Florida in 2015. I'll take the heat over snow any day. If I'm not working, I'm hunting for Chicago sports in St. Pete bars, vegan eats or my next book. I run on your tips and black coffee.

  1. In this March 24, 2018, file photo, crowds of people participate in the March for Our Lives rally in support of gun control in San Francisco.
    ‘Guns are always a volatile topic in the halls of the legislature,’ one Republican said.
  2. Vice President Joe Biden, right, talks to supporters as former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, left, stands near during a campaign stop at at Century Village in Boca Raton, Fla., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Crist is locked in a tight race against Gov. Rick Scott in one of the most negative gubernatorial campaigns in Florida history. The two disagree on most major issues, including health care, the minimum wage, Cuba policy, gay marriage and medical marijuana. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) ORG XMIT: FLAD102
    The Florida Republican-turned-Democrat said Biden’s ‘record of getting things done speaks for itself.’
  3. She’s the fifth candidate to announce her campaign for the GOP primary.
  4. Former Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum, left, and Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa looks on while Terrie Rizzo, the State Chair of the Florida Democratic Party speaks during the Florida Democratic Party and Forward Florida Action Partnership to register voters in Florida held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019.
    It’s called ‘Campaign Blueprint’ and it’s the latest piece of the party’s rebuild
  5. Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. [News Service of Florida]
    ‘We’re going to find out at some point in the future,’ one Republican said.
  6. From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro are introduced Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    It’s the the third time the Democratic presidential candidates met to debate, and the first time that all three front runners, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, shared the same stage.
  7. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to drive the 1st fairway on March 18 while participating in the Veterans Alternative Celebrity Pro-Am at the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor. The governor loves to golf and his political committee finance team proposed to make it a big part of his fundraising efforts.
    Internal documents from DeSantis’ political committee provide a rare peek into the inner workings of the main political operation behind Florida’s top elected official.
  8. OUT HIGHLANDS TODAY /  OUT HERNANDO TODAY / OUT CITRUS COUNTY CHRONICLE / NO MAGS NO SALES
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times 
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump meets supporters organizing voter registration and support for his campaign just before a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 24, 2016. 
Inside the RV seen here, Trump kissed a member of his campaign staff without consent, a woman is alleging in a new lawsuit. The woman, Alva Johnson, can be seen in the background of this photo wearing a Trump shirt and a hat on the left side of the frame.
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
    But she told CNN she stands by her allegations.
  9. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he returns to the White House from Camp David, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Washington.
    As Dorian loomed, the president took to social media, tapping out hurricane updates with attacks on political enemies, disputes over unfavorable coverage and lots of thoughts on former FBI Director...
  10. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is shown, Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    Could the storm hit Florida near the Winter White House? It’s possible.