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. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, backed by wildlife experts, marine business owners and politicians, talks about the state’s overall effort to combat the recent Red Tide outbreak plaguing Tampa Bay waters, during a press conference held at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. At this moment, the DeSantis was pushing back on a question from a reporter who said the St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman accused the governor of politicizing Red Tide. In rebuttal, DeSantis said it was Kriseman who introduced politics into the Red Tide discussions.
  2. Sen. Joe Gruters proposes a reciprocity agreement with other states that would grant in-state university tuition to students with grandparents who reside there, during debate on March 23, 2020.
  3. U.S, Sen. Rick Scott speaks during the Road to Majority convention at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee on Friday, June 18, 2021.
  4. U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, R- Fla., speaks at the Brownwood Hotel and Spa in The Villages, Florida, on Friday, May 7, 2021.
  5. The Fight for $15 campaign hosted a rally outside of St. Petersburg City Hall, calling for a hike in the minimum wage. Progressives in Florida point to the statewide success of policies like raising the minimum wage as evidence voters can embrace progressive ideas. [Times file photo]
  6. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters at the Save America Rally on the Ellipse on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, near the White House in Washington, D.C.. Trump is coming to Sarasota in July.
  7. Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual Hillsborough County NH GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  8. Jun. 15• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2021, file photo President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue at Dalton Regional Airport in Dalton, Ga. Trump will be making his first post-presidential appearance at a conservative gathering in Florida next weekend. Ian Walters, spokesman for the American Conservative Union, confirmed that Trump will be speaking at the group's annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 28. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
  9. Voting signs are seen just outside the Belleair Beach City Hall Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Belleair Beach is one of 10 small Pinellas municipalities that held elections Tuesday.
  10. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  11. In this file photo, (from left) Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson, State Sen. Janet Cruz, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nu–ez and Gov. Ron DeSantis look on while Andrew Cannons, Laboratory Director at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories, explains the testing procedures of potential coronavirus cases at the Florida Department of Health Laboratory in Tampa, Florida, on March 2, 2020.
  12. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, left, listens to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, right, announce a new bill aimed at protecting the U.S. Postal Service during a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 outside the USPS branch in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. On Monday, Castor endorsed Crist for governor.
  13. A Brightline passenger train passes by on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Oakland Park.
  14. May 21• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    Supporters of President Donald Trump protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
  15. A screenshot from a Newsmax townhall in The Villages featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 12.
  16. Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
  17. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody speaks during a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, on Monday, April 19, 2021.
  18. Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, listens to the State of the State address being delivered by Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Capitol in Tallahassee during Opening Day of the Florida Legislature on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
  19. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial elections law Thursday in West Palm Beach, but only Fox News was allowed to show it. A graphic falsely claimed the law prohibits "mass mailing of ballots," when existing law already requires mail ballots to be requested.
  20. Gov. Ron DeSantis staged the signing of the elections overhaul law with an interview on "Fox and Friends" from the West Palm Beach rally.
  21. Eric Lynn is the only Democrat in the race for Congressional District 13. 

  22. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announces his third bid for Florida governor during a Tuesday news conference in St. Petersburg.
  23. Charlie Crist greets supporters at the Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg, after his victory in the governor's race in 2006.