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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. 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]
  2. 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 is greeted by Sen. Marco Rubio as he arrives in Fort Myers, Fla., Sept. 14, 2017. Trump visited hurricane-scarred Florida on Thursday, where he met with state officials and visited areas recovering from the storm, passed out food to survivors, shook hands and posed for pictures. [Doug Mills | New York Times]
  3. 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)
  4. 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....

    Eric Bhakta works to make a quick repair to a gutter as weather conditions continue to deteriorate with Hurricane Irma approaching at the 8Inn at 1201 34th Street N. in St Petersburg Sunday afternoon.  "My wife and I are staying here but we would have liked to evacuate," Bhakta, the owner of the 8inn motel said. Bhakta is staying at his hotel because more than half of his 42 rooms are filled as people have checked in to take shelter. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times)
  5. 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
  6. 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)
  7. 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]
  8. 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....

  9. 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....

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, making a political comeback in this year's mayoral primary, appeared at his election watch party at the StayBridge Suites after Tuesday's primary. He will face incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman in the Nov. 7 runoff. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  10. 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. ...

  11. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


    Winner of the week 1...

  12. Corcoran pokes Putnam over campaign finance and draws criticism from many

    State Roundup

    There is rich irony to Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran deriding "welfare for politicians" and "the insider political class" in his call to eliminate Florida's beleaguered public campaign financing system. He is, after all, the ultimate example of Tallahassee's political insider class. His lifestyle has been subsidized for most of his adult life by either taxpayers or special interest campaign donors. ...

    Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced in March that her office will no longer pursue the death penalty as a sentence in any case brought before the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida. [Orlando Sentinel via AP]
  13. Meet the first statewide Florida candidate who vows to forgo public matching money


    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran may be calling on the Constitution Revision Commission to approve a ballot initiative ending Florida's system of public campaign financing, but Corcoran has not actually declared his candidacy for governor. State Rep. Matt Caldwell, however, has formally entered the Republican primary for agriculture commissioner and is now the first statewide candidate pledging not to take matching money - and challenging others to do the same....

    Matt Caldwell
  14. David Jolly: A primary challenge to Donald Trump could save the GOP


    The Republican former U.S. House member from Pinellas County writes:

    .... But a credible, competitive and constructive primary challenge to Trump would give safe harbor to millions of GOPers who still believe in the party, just perhaps not this president. It would keep the feud within the family, and it would keep the family together.

    The worst thing Republicans can allow to happen as a party is to let the fractures this president has created lead to a legitimate breaking off of a center-right third party. Instead, by organizing a primary challenge to the president now, we can restore a place within the party for mainstream Republicans to call home and provide renewed leadership within the party for the Teddy Roosevelts, Dwight Eisenhowers and Abraham Lincolns among us who once made our party great. ......

  15. Florida first: A white man to be executed for killing black man


    From the Public News Service: For the first time in state history, Florida is scheduled to execute a white man for killing a black person.  Mark James Asay's death warrant schedules his execution for six o-clock this evening. Asay was convicted by a jury for two racially-motivated and premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987. Barring a stay, it will be Florida's first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court halted the practice in the state more than 18 months ago. ...