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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. 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.
  2. 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....

    FILE- In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Democrat Annette Taddeo, talks during an interview in Pinecrest, Fla. Taddeo defeated state Rep. Jose Felix "Pepi" Diaz, in a special election for a state senate seat. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) MH201
  3. 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. ...

  4. 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.
  5. 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]
  6. Trump dispenses hoagies, handshakes in hurricane zone (w/video)



    The president and vice president soared into Irma-socked southwest Florida on Thursday, offering support, prayers, ham and cheese hoagies, and a partisan punch or two.

    "This is a state that I know very well and these are special, special people," President Donald Trump shouted while visiting a mobile home park badly damaged by the Category 3 storm that ripped though Naples on Sunday. "We're going to be back here many, many times. We're going to be with you 100 percent."...

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hand out sandwiches and greet Naples residents affected by the hurricane.
  7. Hancock Bank opens for bay area customers, just like it did after Katrina


    ST. PETERSBURG — After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005, Hancock Bank drew national attention for its efforts to meet the local community's needs. The day after Katrina hit and before the Gulfport, Miss.-based bank had power or access to records, it started distributing cash to clients and non-clients alike, in exchange for IOUs scribbled on scraps of paper.

    "They were really involved in helping the community, not only financially but also with water supplies, gas supplies — really entrenched in the community," Lynn Stodgell, retail operations leader for Hancock Bank, recounted Monday as she and her colleagues worked to make sure Hancock was open for business in Pinellas and Manatee counties, as quickly as possible after Irma left town....

    From right to left, Regional President Tim Coop, customer service manager Dave Feliu, teller Terri Leonard, and retail operations manager Lynn Stodgell. (Adam C. Smith  |  Times)
  8. Waiting for a storm, looking like a ghost town


    ST. PETERSBURG — As the anxious wait continued Sunday for Hurricane Irma, neighborhoods across St. Petersburg became damp, gray ghost towns with virtually nobody outside and few cars other than police vehicles moving on normally busy arteries.

    Mobile home parks across the city were desolate, other than cops looking for elusive stragglers who may have ignored evacuation orders.

    Even in flood-prone areas such as Shore Acres in northeast St. Petersburg, most homes were not boarded up. Among the boarded windows, some residents spray-painted messages of hope and defiance....

    Very low tide on Coffee Pot Bayou. (Adam C. Smith  |  Times)
  9. Latvala raises money with hurricane looming

    State Roundup

    While many of his constituents were focused on Hurricane Irma and mandatory evacuations for parts of Pinellas, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Republican candidate for governor, was thinking about raising campaign money.

    Latvala had scheduled a campaign kickoff fundraiser weeks ago for Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday evening and, while grumbling about Gov. Rick Scott and Pinellas emergency management officials being too alarmist, Latvala said he saw no reason to cancel his event....

    In a handout satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Irma moves towards the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm in the Caribbean Sea, Sept. 8, 2017. Scientists say that a perfect mix of meteorological conditions has conspired over the past week to make the storm unusually large and powerful. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via The New York Times) ?ˆš???€š‚? ̈?€š€ FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY ?ˆš???€š‚? ̈?€š€ XNYT128
  10. Guests ride out storm at St. Pete Hilton, but other hotels evacuate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Inside the lobby of the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront on Saturday, a steady stream of guests headed toward the elevators lugging massive suitcases, big-screen TVs, and the occasional yapping dog.

    The high-rise hotel across from Al Lang Stadium sits in the B zone designated for mandatory evacuation, but guests and hotel employees planned to ride out Irma inside the hotel....

    Mary Ann Brinegar evacuated from Fort Myers to St Petersburg early in the week and then learned Saturday she had to leave the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown St Petersburg. (Adam C. Smith |  Times)
  11. Hurricane Irma: Pinellas orders first evacuations, more to come

    Public Safety

    Pinellas County ordered its first evacuations on Thursday as Hurricane Irma continued its march to Florida.

    LIVE BLOG: The latest on Hurricane Irma

    Officials officials ordered everyone who lives in low-lying areas or mobile homes to evacuate. Access to beach communities will be restricted starting at 10 a.m. Friday. At 8 a.m. Sunday, that access will be cut off. Deputies will not allow anyone to re-enter those areas....

    Pinellas County commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to issue the evacuation order for all mobile home residents, and all Level A residents - including special needs residents - at Friday at 6 a.m. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  12. Insiders pick most 'genuine conservative'

    State Roundup

    As so often happens in Republican primaries, the race for Florida's 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination is shaping up as largely a question of which candidate or prospective candidate is the true conservative. But why wait 12 months to let Florida's primary voters decide when we have our trusty Florida Insider Polls?

    We asked nearly 200 of Florida's best-informed political players whether the most "genuine conservative" is House Speaker Richard Corcoran, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, state Sen. Jack Latvala or Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam....

  13. Cheer up, Rick Baker. This race isn't over yet


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker wasn't the most lovable candidate when he was winning the mayor's race. In his first campaign speech, he sourly cast St. Petersburg as a disaster zone under Mayor Rick Kriseman, and in their only televised debate, he smugly declared, "I just don't like" Kriseman.

    I shudder to think what Baker may be like now that he's losing. The former mayor's spitting-mad, election-night harangue about "an incumbent who has devastated our city in so many ways" does not bode well....

    Rick Baker waves to cars while holding a sign that reads "Thank You" along with his family and supporters during the lunch hour at the corner of 34th Street and 22nd Avenue South in St. Petersburg on Wednesday afternoon. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times)
  14. Campaign launching to add victims' bill of rights to Florida Constitution


    A newly created crime victim's group, Marsy’s Law for Florida, is launching a campaign to codify in the state constitution specific rights for crime victims. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation plan to submit language for the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to place on the 2018 ballot. ...

  15. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


    Winner of the week 1...