Make us your home page

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. Republicans still winning at fundraising

    State Roundup

    Democrats running for Florida governor may be thankful for Donald Trump energizing their party activists and turning off swing voters, but their Republican gubernatorial rivals are still crushing them in fundraising. Money is crucial in a state where it costs more than $1 million a week to regularly air TV ads statewide.

    Here's the latest rundown for November:


    Adam Putnam continued to blow away the field with another strong fundraising month. The Republican frontrunner brought in about $683,000 more in monetary contributions than he spent between his campaign and political committee. The agriculture commissioner will have a substantial war chest — $15 million and counting — that will be tough for anyone to compete with come fall 2018....

  2. From the archives: Rubio's aide spent lavishly on party credit cards like his boss


    This article was originally published in March 2010.

    Days before he was sworn in as speaker of the Florida House, Marco Rubio and his top deputies hopped on a charter plane to Washington, checked into a $600-a-night hotel hosting a Republican Party conference and hired a chauffeur to squire them around the city.

    The costs were charged to the state party-issued credit card belonging to Rubio's chief of staff, Richard Corcoran, a Republican operative who had recently been transferred to the state payroll. During the five months of his $175,000-a-year job in Rubio's office, Corcoran continued spending tens of thousands of dollars in party donations for a slew of expenses, including dinners with his boss, personalized chairs for Republican leaders and $4,600 for electronics, according to American Express statements obtained by the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald. ...

  3. Richard Corcoran really, really loves Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    Even in the home state of former presidential aspirants Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, few Republican leaders in 2016 were more vocal in their criticism of Donald Trump than Richard Corcoran, the Florida House speaker.

    "What birthed the phenomenon of a candidate who in all definition of the word is running a quasi-repugnant campaign that is baseless? You have a candidate who has flip-flopped on every issue,'' the Land O'Lakes Republican told a Florida Chamber of Commerce gathering in January 2016....

  4. Florida Democrats mostly quiet as John Conyers faces calls to resign

    State Roundup

    Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan is facing mounting allegations of sexual harassment and growing calls — including one from Nancy Pelosi on Thursday — that he resign the seat he has held since the 1960s.

    So what do Florida Democrats think? We've reached out to the 11 House members and Sen. Bill Nelson. The reaction ? Near silence.

    This stands in contrast to general Democratic outrage about allegations facing Donald Trump, Roy Moore and others....

    Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)
  5. Mar-a-Lago visits a blessing and a curse


    WASHINGTON — After pardoning a turkey, President Donald Trump got down to his real Thanksgiving tradition: a visit to Mar-a-Lago.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the president and first lady Melania Trump departed for Palm Beach, marking the return of regular visits to Mar-a-Lago.

    The trips, which will likely last through the spring, are seen as a blessing and a curse for the area as security tightens, roads are closed and protests are staged....

    this is an icon for the democratic party, to be used in sunday perspective
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. 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....

    Joy Villa, a singer, says she’s thinking about running for Congress in Tampa Bay.
  12. 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....

    From left, USF political scientist Susan MacManus and Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith moderate a forum with former Congressmen David Jolly and Patrick Murphy. (Courtesy of Preston Rudie)
  13. 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]
  14. 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....

    University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs talks with reporters Wednesday about white nationalist Richard Spencer's planned speech on Thursday. He said of Spencer: "In a small way, he is causing us to redouble our focus on supporting actions that are the opposite of what he wants." [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  15. 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)