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Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor

Adam C. Smith

The Washington Post calls Political Editor Adam Smith a top political writer in Florida, and the Columbia Journalism Review has called him one of the top 10 political writers in America. He focuses on state and national politics, and is the creator of the award-winning Florida politics blog, The Buzz. Smith has been with the Times since 1992 and has covered local and state government, as well as general assignment and investigative beats. Smith grew up in New York City, graduated Kenyon College in Ohio, and when he's not chasing politicians, he tries to keep up with his wife, three kids and hound dog.

Phone: (727) 893-8241


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @AdamSmithTimes

  1. Latvala's accusers remain anonymous

    State Roundup

    As women across the country come forward and publicly call out sexual harassers, accusers in the Sunshine State have remained in the shade.

    At least six women have alleged that they are victims of sexual harassment by state Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who stepped down as head of the budget committee until a Senate investigation is complete. The women agreed to talk to Politico Florida but refused to be identified....

    Stephen Bittel, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.
  2. More than 200 Florida political insiders are nearly unanimous: you should expect more Capitol allegations

    State Roundup

    In the aftermath of tawdry allegations ending the career of a state senator (Democrat Jeff Clemens of Palm Beach County) and threatening to end another's (Republican Jack Latvala of Pinellas), more than 200 Florida political pros are nearly unanimous: More legislators will face public accusations of sexual harassment or extramarital affairs.

    A whopping 97 percent said so in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll of lobbyists, fundraisers, political operatives, academics and others....

    Florida Capitol looking east, Tallahassee.  FOR FILE.
  3. Insiders expect more Capitol allegations

    State Roundup

    In the aftermath of tawdry allegations ending the career of a state senator (Democrat Jeff Clemens of Palm Beach County) and threatening to end another's (Republican Jack Latvala of Pinellas), more than 200 Florida political pros are nearly unanimous: More legislators will face public accusations of sexual harassment or extramarital affairs.

    A whopping 97 percent said so in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll of lobbyists, fundraisers, political operatives, academics and others....

    Hilllsborough,Tampa.10/13/2008-Susan MacManus makes a point during board meeting. Newschannel8 photo by Pat Brammell
  4. Adam C. Smith: 8 takeaways from the St. Pete mayor's race

    State Roundup

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race was Rick Baker's to lose, and with a giant assist from Donald Trump, that's what happened. The popular former mayor nearly came back in the campaign's final weeks, but fell short against Rick Kriseman because of a serious strategic miscalculation.

    First, we should acknowledge what's easily overlooked in Baker's loss: He nearly unseated an incumbent mayor in a city where almost everybody sees things headed in the right direction. And, remarkably, the Republican candidate at least tied the Democrat among overwhelmingly Democratic African-American voters. That would have been a national story had Baker won....

    Rick Baker addresses his supporters as he is defeated in his bid for St. Petersburg Mayor at 400 Beach in St. Petersburg Tuesday evening. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times)
  5. Graham jokes bomb with tough crowd

    State Roundup

    First of all, we should stipulate that addressing the annual Associated Press pre-session planning day is a tough gig for politicians. Unlike partisan events, the crowd at these gatherings is largely stone faced, non-clapping reporters and editors from across the state and, especially after lunch, pretty low energy.

    So Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham faced a tough room Thursday when she showed up at the Capitol Building's observatory. But she sure did not help herself with two weird jokes that fell utterly flat before the quizzical reporters looking on....

    Adam Putnam, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, center, visits with Charles W. Thomas, Pinellas County Tax Collector, at the Pinellas County Courthouse on Thursday (6/29/17) moments after announcing another cut, the third consecutive cut in five years, to the concealed weapon license fee, dropping the cost of new concealed weapons permits and renewals by $5.
  6. Surprising opponent may take on Charlie Crist

    State Roundup

    Just in case you thought former Republican/former independent/former governor/former finalist for vice president/former U.S. Senate candidate/former washed-up politician/current Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's career couldn't get any weirder, there's a new development.

    A singer and diehard Donald Trump supporter appears to be looking at running against Crist for his Pinellas County U.S. House seat....

    Gov. Rick Scott announced on Sept. 26, 2017, that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding. [Associated Press file photo]
  7. Adam Smith: Is there anything to be done about Washington gridlock? Some say yes

    State Roundup

    Let's try to talk about Washington dysfunction without focusing on Donald Trump.

    Trump, after all, would not be president but for the vast public disgust with the status quo that preceded his candidacy and likely will succeed it.

    Complaints about Congress are nothing new, though the scope of the problems keeps growing.

    "A level of polarization and distrust exists in Washington that has not been seen in more than a century," Jason Altmire, a former Pennsylvania congressman who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, writes in his excellent new book, Dead Center, How Political Polarization Divided America, and What We Can Do About It....

    Former U.S. Reps. Democrat Patrick Murphy, left, and Republican David Jolly lament the corrosiveness of gridlock in Washington, D.C., during a forum this month at USF.
  8. How Florida could help ensure the popular vote picks presidents


    State Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, has filed a bill to mandate that Florida's electoral votes given to the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote. Even if it has a snowball's chance in Miami to pass a GOP-controlled legislature reluctant to draw the Twitter wrath of a president who doesn't take kindly to popular vote talk, it's at least an interesting idea for discussion and probably less of a lift than amending the U.S. Constitution....

    A voter is reflected in the glass frame of a poster while leaving a polling site during early voting ahead of the Nov. 8 election day.  [Associated Press]
  9. Bilirakis, Rubio sponsored drug bill

    State Roundup

    Millions of TV viewers last weekend learned of a successful attempt by the drug industry to weaken federal regulations, just as the opioid crisis was reaching its peak — and two Florida Republicans played a supporting role.

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Sen. Marco Rubio were among a handful of co-sponsors of the legislation, which sailed through Congress last year and was signed into law by President Barack Obama....

    Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks during day Three of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  10. In St. Petersburg mayor's race, Rick vs. Rick is also Rays vs. Rowdies


    ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe before the NFL's national anthem uproar you assumed professional sports were apolitical endeavors. You'd be dead wrong in the case of St. Petersburg's mayoral race.

    The historically non-political Tampa Bay Rays have jumped in with both fins behind incumbent Rick Kriseman, with the team and top executives pumping more than $80,000 into Kriseman's political committee. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rowdies are lined up solidly behind challenger Rick Baker, who works for and has received $50,000 in campaign donations from Rowdies owner Bill Edwards....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker, during the forum for St. Petersburg's two mayoral candidates moderated by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area in September. (CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times)
  11. Most Insiders see Irma as boost to Scott

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott received generally high marks for his handling of the hurricanes hitting Florida and its sister territory, Puerto Rico, but his PR team lately has been working ferociously to push back against assorted reports raising questions about his emergency management record before and after the storms hit.

    Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio joined calls for a congressional investigation into the deaths of 14 Floridians in a sweltering Broward County nursing home. Those deaths have prompted questions, mostly from Democrats, about the Scott administration's oversight of nursing homes, about his deleting voicemail messages from that nursing home seeking help restoring power after Irma hit, and his administration's practice of keeping secret from consumers information on nursing home inspection reports....

     Florida Senator Dennis Baxley, 5/4/17. In the Florida Senate. FOR FILE.
  12. The Buzz: Rick Baker as hipster and other developments in the St. Petersburg mayoral race ...

    State Roundup

    Rick Baker hasn't gone full hipster yet, but before St. Pete's mayoral race ends we won't be entirely shocked to see Mayor Rick Kriseman's challenger sporting a man bun, nerdy glasses and forearm loaded with tats (tattoos, for those of you in Baker's generation).

    Look at the ex-mayor's latest TV ads and his sharp new "Baker Blueprint" website,, and you'll see what we mean. The site features an image of Baker, purple shirt untucked beneath his dark jacket and sneakers peeking out below his black jeans....

    A new Rick Baker campaign ad is set in a record store and casts the former mayor as a guitar hero with discography full of hits, Grand Prix, Beach Drive, Midtown revival, that thrills younger voters. In the ad, Baker strolls in, guitar strapped to his back, clad in a black campaign t-shirt to deliver... wait for it ... a stack of new releases. [Image from video]
  13. Adam Smith: Between Puerto Rico and Trump, here are a few hints that a blue tide could rise in Florida


    We can't know until later when the tides really start shifting in a wave election, but Florida Republicans ought to view two occasions last week as ominous signs for the 2018 election cycle

    Early evening Monday, actor, singer and Miami resident Marc Anthony tweeted:

    Mr. President shut the ---- up about NFL. Do something about our people in need in #PuertoRico. We are American citizens too. ...

  14. Florida pols not big on Graham-Cassidy bill

    State Roundup

    After failing numerous times this summer to fulfill their nearly decade-long promise to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature health care bill, Senate Republicans pushed once more.

    The proposal sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would overhaul the current system under the Affordable Care Act by sending revenue from ACA taxes to the 50 states in block grants. The states would be allowed to apply for waivers of current ACA regulations that require all health plans to cover certain "essential health benefits" such as maternity care....

     Florida Governor Rick Scott Addresses joint session of the Florida Legislature, 3/7/17 in Tallahassee.
  15. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?


    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about their emergency shelter options prior to Irma's landfall.

    "We had so many people turned away from shelters because they were full — which is amazing that could happen in the state of Florida," said Marla Kibbe, a seafood market employee and mobile home park resident who managed to find a condo for shelter and brought four other women with her. "One woman was 95 years old, but she got turned away from a shelter because she had a dog and they wouldn't let her in. Another lady had medical needs and they couldn't accommodate her."...

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]