Political news

Scott Finn / WUSF

When Mitt Romney comes to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, he’ll be speaking to a local audience that’s been inundated – not just with rain, but with an unprecedented number of political ads.

According to the Washington Post, more money has been spent on political ads in Tampa Bay than any other media market except for Charlotte – host of the Democratic National Convention.

Ask your average American about Florida, and you'll hear something like this: It's hot, it has Disney World, and lots of old people live there.

And since the weather and Mickey Mouse don't make good attack ads, both presidential campaigns are trying to scare the bejeezus out of Florida's senior population over Medicare.

Republican National Convention 2012: Latest News

Aug 23, 2012

Check here for updates on the latest from the 2012 Republican National Convention -- all the links, tweets, stories and videos live from Tampa.

And you can add your voice to the conversation -- just send us an e-mail or leave a comment. What's your take on the convention? What stories do you want us to cover?

Isaac Takes Aim at Tampa

Aug 22, 2012

Check out the five-day forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac.

It could veer harmlessly into the Atlantic, or march through the middle of the Gulf...but most computer models have the storm hitting Tampa, possibly as a Category One hurricane.

We've been through this before, when Tampa was the bulls-eye for Hurricane Charlie...until the storm made a last-minute turn (sorry, Port Charlotte.)

Alex Cook

Food Not Bombs, the charitable activist organization whose mission is to provide food for those who need it around the world, kicked off it's 2012 World Gathering on Monday.  Keith McHenry, the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, said he chose Tampa not just because the Republican National Convention is in town, but also because of Florida's strict anti-homeless laws.

John O'Connor / WUSF

Ken Jones is a Tampa native and attorney for a local financial firm.

He's also tasked with leading the group that's hosting the biggest event to hit Tampa since the Super Bowl in 2009.

This is the fifth convention Jones has worked on.

He sat down with WUSF for Florida Matters. Here's five things we learned from the interview.

With the presidential nominating conventions right around the corner, NPR is continuing our already extensive multimedia coverage of the 2012 election.

In addition to live special broadcasts from the Republican National Convention (August 27-30) and the Democratic National Convention (September 4-6), our Election 2012 team is trekking down to Tampa, FL, and Charlotte, NC, to offer in-depth news, interviews and analysis across all newsmagazines and online. For local stations and broadcast times, visit

Organizers of next week's Republican National Convention may be experiencing a case of tropical depression.

While it's too early to make landfall predictions, a tropical depression in the Atlantic could intensify into a hurricane and may rain on convention organizers best laid plans.

Tropical depression 9 is headed towards the Caribbean and is expected to soon become a Tropical Storm. Meteorologist Diane Kacmarik at Bay News 9 says conditions look favorable for the storm to eventually become a hurricane.

Let the Tampa bashing begin.

"Tampa is a hot urban mess, equal parts Reagan ’80s and Paul Ryan 2010s," writes Will Doig of

Doig paints the Tampa Bay region as perhaps the least-pleasant, most poorly-designed metro area in America. He dings the area for rejecting a tax increase for light rail, for its sprawl and its lack of green space.

It is "a disaster" and a cautionary tale -- elect Romney/Ryan and the rest of America will become just as hellish:

A federal court has rejected part of Florida's new election law that would have restricted the number of early voting days across the state. The court said the new law cannot take effect in five counties where the African-American vote could be key in November.

The ruling — which was announced late Thursday — is a win for voting rights groups, who say the new law was meant to suppress minority voters in Florida in the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Courtesy of Between Brackets blog

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is asking the locals to watch out for anyone taking over vacant homes during the Republican National Convention. 

Hotels are booked and authorities say the thousands of protesters will be looking for a place to stay and may become squatters at homes that have been left empty. 

Sherriff's Detective Larry McKinnon says there are at least four red flags for squatters that you should watch for:

1) Numerous people suddenly moving into a vacant home or business.

2) Tents erected within backyards or uncommon areas.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate may help energize support from conservative voters who like his tough approach to overhauling the federal budget.

But there's a risk that Ryan may turn off an important voting bloc: senior citizens.

The Tampa Police Department demonstrated for business leaders the equipment and tactics they will use to control protesters at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Several police officers acted as demonstrators whose actions grew violent.  Their counterparts in uniform then showed how they plan to respond to a riot.  Officers on bicycles formed a barrier, and mounted police corralled protesters until men in riot gear dispersed the crowd with smoke.

Full video below.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

A massive protest bringing together thousands of people from around the country is planned for the streets of downtown Tampa during the first day of the Republican National Convention. A group of organizers met today, and they promise the event will be peaceful.

They call themselves the Coalition to March on the RNC. A handful of organizers came out to Perry Harvey Park, the sliver of green on the outskirts of downtown that will be the starting point for their parade on the convention's first day.

Just like the temperature of a fever stricken patient, Medicare is on the rise as the hottest campaign issue in Florida ever since Paul Ryan was named as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Bobbie O'Brien

Republicans were decisive when selecting a candidate to run for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser in the general election. State Sen. Ronda Storms handily defeated incumbent Rob Turner who admitted earlier this year to sending pornographic images to a former employee.

Storms crushed the 16-year incumbent property appraiser with 70 percent of the vote. She attributed the win to the voters valuing integrity above all else.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

It's less than two weeks to go before the Republican National Convention invades Tampa. But many people are still unclear about how it will affect those who live and work in and around downtown.  So Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is holding several town hall meetings to alleviate those concerns.

The speculation is over. Republican National Convention Chairman Reince Priebus announced this morning that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will get the coveted keynote speaking slot. In this press release, Priebus praised the straight-shooting governor as a model of "bold Republican leadership."

Bobbie O'Brien

Mitt Romney campaigned down Florida’s east coast Monday, but in just two weeks he’ll be camped out on west coast for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Convention preparations are in full swing at the Tampa Bay Times Forum so much so that the weekly news briefing on their progress was held outside.

But, the RNC director of operations, Ryan Price, described the progress to news media.

Why Plant City, Fla., Is A Can't-Miss On The Campaign Trail

Aug 13, 2012

National political candidates love visiting Plant City, Fla. It's in a swing state, in a swing county.