Time's nearly up for South Florida Republican Congressman David Rivera who lost his re-election bid to Democrat Joe Garcia in November.
It's a stall in a remarkable political career that always kept Rivera one or two adroit steps ahead of political and personal disaster.
Still, his last round of problems -- now under investigation by the FBI and the IRS -- may lead to criminal charges with possibly uncomfortable ramifications for Rivera's close friend, U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
In an election year and a redistricting year, you might have expected this. The biggest stories of 2012 ended up being an election and redistricting.
A third ongoing story also pervaded the year's news: The economy continued its long, slow rise from the ashes of the recession, and by year's end the rebound – while facing the possible stomach-punch of a fiscal cliff setback – appeared to be solid.
After the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the country renewed a debate over gun control. At the same time, Florida quietly marked a milestone. It became the first state to issue more than a million permits allowing residents to carry concealed weapons. From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen reports.
GREG ALLEN: It's the holiday season, and at American Armory, a gun store in Homestead, Florida, the atmosphere is festive.
Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to a 30-day extension on labor negotiations, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports, according to a federal mediator.
The strike would also have idled cargo but not cruise ship operations at PortMiami and Port Everglades. PortMiami is the nation's 11th largest container port and a lengthy strike would be costly to the regional economy.
The unrelated killings of two young men, two state government controversies, election developments and a multi-fatality car crash made up the top 10 Florida news stories of 2012, according to an Associated Press survey of newspaper editors.
Norman Schwarzkopf spent his last hours at home in Tampa, surrounded by family who shared stories that made them laugh, according to his daughter, Cindy Schwarzkopf. The family had come to town to celebrate Christmas. While her father was in declining health, his death was unexpected, she said.
Tumbling off the fiscal cliff will immediately cut the economic lifeline for 119,000 Floridians who depend on extended unemployment compensation now funded by the federal government.
It would also mean an immediate increase in the payroll taxes paid by every American wage-earner. But the long-term unemployed will be especially vulnerable if Congress and White House negotiators are unable to reach an agreement to head off automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts by Monday.
Gov. Rick Scott and executives of Florida's largest ports Thursday called on negotiators to avert a strike that could cripple the majority of container shipments along the eastern and gulf coasts as early as this weekend.
Barring an agreement between longshoremen and shippers, the group urged President Barack Obama to use his authority to keep containerized cargo moving while talks continue, saying any interruption would have a ripple effect throughout Florida and across the country.
In 2012, Florida remained the state that can't vote straight.
President Barack Obama sent Florida's GOP leaders in to shock by winning the state in November, and some Democrats followed his coattails to make the state slightly bluer. But while licking their wounds, Republicans remain in firm control of Florida's agenda.
EXPRESS LANES: The fast toll lanes will run from Glades Road on the bottom of he map to Linton Boulevard at the top. The new FAU interchange will be at Spanish River Boulevard, which is NW 40 Street on this map.
Transportation engineers are planning to install pay-per-drive express lanes as part of the next big I-95 makeover in Palm Beach County.
Already in use in Miami-Dade County and under construction in Broward, express lanes provide a faster, limited-access drive for commuters who can commit to the entire distance. Tolls rise and fall as a function of traffic congestion.
In Miami, the tolls range from 25 cents to six and seven dollars, according to traffic conditions.