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Steve Contorno named Tampa Bay Times’ political editor

Contorno has been with the Times since 2013.

Political editor is a storied role at the Tampa Bay Times and a pinnacle in Florida political reporting.

On Tuesday, the Times named Steve Contorno its new political editor.

Contorno, 31, has been with the Times since 2013, when he was hired as a PolitiFact reporter in Washington, D.C. He moved to the Tampa Bay area in 2015 to cover Hillsborough County, and since early last year, he has been on the politics team. In the fall, Steve was named national political correspondent. He’s written several noteworthy stories, from explaining why the for-profit prison company Geo Group is backing bipartisan criminal justice reform to pointing out how Marco Rubio is campaigning for policy changes in Venezuela via the worldwide pulpit that is Twitter.

“To be in this role now — during a new era in Tallahassee and a presidential campaign looming — is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” Contorno said. “We have a tremendous political team that I know will continue the Times’ tradition of distinct, innovative coverage that holds politicians accountable and explains what is happening in our battleground. In the coming weeks, I want to hear from voters and politicos alike on the stories important to you.”

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Contorno started his career at the Green Bay Press-Gazette and then spent two years at the Washington Examiner covering Virginia politics and Congress.

“By the time he joined the Tampa Bay politics team last year, Steve had already established himself as a dogged accountability reporter while covering the Hillsborough County commission and his years at PolitiFact,” said Michael Van Sickler, the Times’ government and politics editor. “But in less than a year writing about the governor’s race and Washington D.C, Steve exceeded our expectations. From writing about the rise and fall of Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign, to the NRA’s sway with state government, Steve shows an uncanny ability in setting the narrative without echoing it. We can’t wait to see what he can accomplish in his new role.”