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The Tampa Bay Rays ownership can expect an official invitation soon from Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough Commissioners voted 5 to 2 Thursday to send a letter inviting the Rays organization to make a presentation on the team’s long-term interests, plans and goals to the board.

Commissioner Ken Hagan is calling for a regional discussion about the Rays future.

Get used to hearing the name Julian Castro. You're likely to be coming across it a lot in coming days and perhaps beyond.

President Obama chose Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

Bobbie O'Brien

If Congress fails to pass a revised budget, automatic, across-the-board budget cuts will take effect January 1st. Three Republican senators held a “town hall” in Tampa Monday to emphasize how that could devastate national security and the military, but they also offered a solution.

The three senators are breaking with the GOP leadership and calling for a compromise before the automatic cuts go into effect.  They want Democrats and President Obama to join them.

Senator John McCain cautioned, without action, the military and communities will lose jobs.

Here's some cool time-lapse photography that shows the transformation underway at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as we prepare for the RNC.

It begins with the removal of the turf for Tampa's arena football team.

About halfway through, you can see the main stage taking shape.

We expect to see the completion of the preparations in the RNC's next video.

Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.

Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.

Pam Bondi Stumps for Mitt Romney in N.H.

Jul 30, 2012
facebook.com/pambondi

While you were glued to the Olympics all weekend, Florida's attorney general traveled to the battleground state of New Hampshire to campaign for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

On Saturday, Republican Pam Bondi headlined a Women for Mitt breakfast in Concord. She later gave a pep talk to supporters at Romney's New Hampshire campaign headquarters in Bedford, lauding the former Massachusetts governor as a job creator who "leads by example."

Beth Myers is a tease.

The woman running Mitt Romney's search for a running mate — a.k.a. @BethMyers2012 — apparently decided to blow off some steam Friday afternoon with a couple of "Follow Friday" shout-outs on Twitter.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Today marks one month before the start of the Republican National Convention. But many of the people coming to Tampa won't be sharing in the coronation of Mitt Romney - they'll be out in the streets, protesting what they say are the party's policies towards the less fortunate.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani campaigned in Tampa today at Mitt Romney's state headquarters on Harbour Island. This is the same Mitt Romney he ran against four years ago for the GOP nomination for president. But times change.

Guiliani repeatedly ripped into Barack Obama as anti-business - expecially since the president's comment that small businesses have to rely on government to succeed.

(UPDATED July 26) The ad described in the post below was pulled off of YouTube at the request of the International Olympic Committee, citing copyright violation, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will host three town hall meetings to answer questions and discuss the Republican National Convention’s impacts on residents and area businesses.

August 14, 2012–     The Florida Aquarium – Taylor Great Room

701 Channelside Drive  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 15, 2012–     Stetson University - Smith Court Room 

1700 North Tampa Street  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 16, 2012–     Kate Jackson Community Center

Wikipedia

The Republican National Convention is still a month away, but already big names are rolling into Tampa to talk up the party's presumptive nominee.

On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will speak at Mitt Romney's Florida headquarters at 302 Knights Run Ave. on Harbour Island. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. For details, call (813) 638-8787.

This is a news release from the Department of Homeland Security:

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies Announce Security Restrictions and Transportation Plan for the 2012 Republican National Convention

Tampa Parking Restrictions and Road Closures

Take one guy with an abiding interest in politics, another guy with website-building skills and throw in the shared desire to get people more engaged in the political process, and you have the ingredients for an interactive site called ISideWith.com.

The site's purpose is to show you which presidential candidate's views most align with yours by running you through a short quiz that asks your stance on various policy issues, then determines which candidate most agrees with you.

How Battleground States See The Economy

Jul 20, 2012

For all the chatter that the winner of the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the economy, you wouldn't know it by looking at the most closely contested states.

The recovery is still tepid in most parts of the country, and there's a sense of trepidation that signs of improvement might not last. Among the swing states, some are doing comparatively well while others are struggling — but the political picture looks roughly the same in all.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The four candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff squared off against each other in a debate last night. And the two Republican front-runners - the current sheriff and one of his predecessors - clearly don't care for each other.

Current Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former Sheriff Everett Rice verbally jabbed at each other during much of the debate at a Clearwater church. Rice hammered away at an internal affairs investigations of the narcotics division, which resulted in the firing of several detectives.

Several presidential battleground states are moving quickly to reach agreements with federal officials to access a U.S. immigration database to purge noncitizens from voter rolls.

The states, including some with large Latino populations, are following Florida, which last week reached its own pact with the Department of Homeland Security to use a database that contains information about immigrants who are in the U.S. legally. The states' efforts had initially been blocked by DHS until the agency relented.

New City Manager Chosen for Sarasota

Jul 16, 2012

Sarasota City Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to select Thomas Barwin to be the next City Manager.   The consulting firm hired to facilitate the candidate search process will now negotiate a contract between Barwin and the City of Sarasota.  The contract is expected to be presented to the City Commission during a Special City Commission meeting Monday, July 30. 

Barwin was the Village Manager for the Village of Oak Park, IL from 2006 - 2012.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

There's 40 days to go until the Tampa Bay Times Forum hosts one of the biggest political events in the world. Today, the Republican National Committee took over the keys to the arena, and final preparations are being made for the convention - and who will get to go to the podium.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

He's considered a legend in Tampa political circles. Saturday, former Congressman Sam Gibbons regaled an audience with tales of how things used to be in Washington - and how different politics in the nation's capital is today.

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