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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. Attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted this photo of his client, Lev Parnas (right) with former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on Friday, Jan. 17. Bondi on Friday was named on of President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers.
    Parnas’ lawyer tweeted out the photo of the former Florida attorney general along with #TheyAllKnew.
  2. Vice President Mike Pence take selfies with supporters after giving a campaign speech during the "Keep America Great" rally at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
    ‘Come November the American people are going to have our say,’ Pence said.
  3. Vice President Mike Pence points to supporters before speaking during a campaign rally at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage in New Tampa, at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, at 1:30 p.m. It wasn’t planned that way.
  4. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., questions FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Florida’s junior senator sat down with the Tampa Bay Times for an extended interview.
  5. From left, Democratic presidential candidates businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stand on stage, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Here’s what you missed Tuesday night in the last debate before things start to count.
  6. Herky, mascot for the Iowa Hawkeyes, rally fans on Dec. 30, 2018, during the Outback Bowl Clearwater Beach Day at the Hilton Clearwater Beach. Iowans who spend their winters in Florida will be allowed to participate in Democratic caucuses at satellite locations in four Florida cities.
    St. Petersburg will host a place for Iowa snowbirds to choose their Democratic presidential nominees.
  7. Lisa Perry, a local Democratic organizer, leads a campaign kickoff event at her home, to mobilize supporters for Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
    The campaigns are coming to terms with the likelihood that the nomination won’t be decided by the time Floridians vote.
  8. President Donald Trump is greeted by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., looks on, after Trump’s arrival on Air Force One at Miami International Airport in April 2018.
    Florida’s senior U.S. senator once said Trump wasn’t ‘ready for the test.' Times have changed.
  9. FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
    A divided Congress faces another crisis after U.S. military launches airstrike in Baghdad.
  10. In September 2017, religious leaders pray with President Donald Trump after he signed a proclamation for a national day of prayer to occur on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.
    Federal law says probably not, but it’s unlikely the IRS will enforce it, experts said.