Steve Contorno - Political Editor

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. President Donald Trump gives a news conference at Belleair's Pelican Golf Club Friday. On Sunday, a member of the press who covered the event reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  2. Vice President Joe Biden, left; and President Donald Trump. [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
  3. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Tampa International Airport Friday, July 31, 2020. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  4. Republican candidates for Florida's 13th Congressional District George Buck (left) and Amanda Makki. [Photos courtesy of campaigns for George Buck and Amanda Makki]
  5. President Donald Trump, left, talks to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after giving a speech to his supporters at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in The Villages, Florida on Thursday, October 3, 2019. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  6. Representative to Congressman Vern Buchanan Gary Tibbetts and Dr. Dixon DMD in the Aspen Dental Mouth Mobile on Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Bradenton, Fla. Tibbetts died on Friday from coronavirus. (Casey Brooke Lawson/AP Images for Aspen Dental) [CASEY BROOKE LAWSON  |  AP]
  7. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
  8. This combo shows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., walks Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 27, 2020, left, and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., at the Capitol in Washington on March 28, 2017. A top House Democrat demanded an apology Tuesday, July 21, 2020, from Yoho who is accused of using a sexist slur after an angry encounter with Ocasio-Cortez. (AP Photo, File) [AP]
  9. A screenshot of the website for Republican Amanda Makki, who is running for Congress in the Florida's 13th District, currently held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist. [STEVE CONTORNO]
  10. Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried speaks during the during the Governor's Luncheon at the Florida State Fair in Tampa earlier this year. (OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times) [JONES, OCTAVIO   |  Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis arrive to hold a roundtable discussion regarding mental health and COVID-19 at the Tampa Bay Crisis Center on Thursday, July 16, 2020 in Tampa.  [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  12. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has repeatedly denied involvement in illegal  fundraising.
  13. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. [Associated Press / Tampa Bay Buccaneers]
  14. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
  15. Light shines from inside the U.S. Capitol dome at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, May 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
  16. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., on June 30, 2020. As his bid for a second term faces growing obstacles, President Donald Trump’s primacy in the dizzying digital world is one of his top advantages, giving him a massive platform to connect with supporters and push a message that ignores his vulnerabilities related to the pandemic, unemployment and race relations. Biden and his allies are working feverishly to establish a social media force of their own. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
  17. Terrie Rizzo chair of the Florida Democratic Party speaks during the general assembly at the state convention Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) [JOHN RAOUX  |  AP]
  18. Car dealerships owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, received several loans from a federal program for businesses hurt by the coronavirus.
  19. A screenshot of a new ad from EDF Action, an environmental group that is working to defeat President Donald Trump. The ad will begin airing on July 7. [EDF Action]
  20. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis greets Vice President, Mike Pence upon his arrival at Tampa International Airport on Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Tampa. The Vice President met with Governor DeSantis regarding the efforts the state is making to combat COVID-19. 

 [IVY CEBALLO  |  Times]
  21. Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
  22. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, gestures as he speaks to the media with Vice President Mike Pence delivering personal protective equipment to the Westminster Baldwin Park, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Fla., as part of the initiative to deliver PPE to more than 15,000 nursing homes across America. Pence is also scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with hospitality and tourism industry leaders to discuss their plans for re-opening during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
  23. FILE - In this July 21, 2016, file photo Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center left, walks with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing Democrats and Republicans to take a close look at whether they'll be able to move forward as planned this summer with conventions that typically kick off the general election season. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) [MATT ROURKE  |  AP]