MIAMI (AP) -- Florida's biggest story of 2014, according to The Associated Press, was one of its latest. President Barack Obama's mid-December move to normalize relations with Cuba beat Gov. Rick Scott's re-election in an AP poll of the state's newspaper editors.

Here is the AP's complete top 10 Florida stories of 2014:

1. Obama announced Dec. 17 that the United States and Cuba would open embassies in each other's capitals, exchange ambassadors and loosen trade and tourism restrictions. But there was backlash in Miami's Cuban community, where some believe Obama is appeasing a dictatorship. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and Cuban-American, pledged to block any attempt by Obama to appoint an ambassador.

2. About a month earlier, the Republican Scott beat former Gov. Charlie Crist 48 percent to 47 percent in a costly campaign marked by extensive negative ads from both sides. Voters in the Panhandle and along Florida's Gulf Coast preferred Scott over Crist, as did voters in the state's suburban and rural areas. Crist, who had been elected as a Republican in 2006, ran as a Democrat after defeating former state Sen. Nan Rich in that party's primary.

3. Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana, got support from almost 58 percent of voters but fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage. The amendment won majority support among voters from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, income levels and educational attainment. Democrats and voters who identify as independent also supported the proposed amendment. Only senior citizens and Republicans opposed legalization. Orlando attorney John Morgan, the leading proponent, says he may try again in 2016.

4. Several state and federal judges ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but issued delays on the issuing of licenses until the state or U.S. Supreme Court gave a final ruling. After the Supreme Court on Dec. 19 refused to block a federal judge's order allowing gay marriage beginning Jan. 6, it appeared likely such weddings will begin here in 2015 — even though the justices haven't issued their final ruling.

5. A judge ruled that the Republican-led Florida Legislature violated a voter-approved law banning gerrymandering when it drew up congressional districts in 2012. That forced the Legislature to redraw two districts for 2016. Judge Terry Lewis in July agreed there was enough evidence to show that Republican-paid consultants helped make a "mockery" of the process.

6. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush both gave strong indications that they might launch 2016 Republican presidential bids. Bush, who is the son and brother of former presidents, announced earlier this month that he would actively explore a campaign. Rubio has made visits to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, all early contests in the 2016 presidential nomination season.

7. For a record ninth-straight year, Florida avoided getting struck by a hurricane. Sometimes nothing happening can still be news. After the state was hit by four hurricanes in 2004 and another four in 2005, it has not been hit since. The Atlantic hurricane season was particularly mild, with only two tropical storms and six hurricanes. Only the season's first storm, Arthur, came close to the state.

8. Almost 1 million Floridians signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Despite strong opposition from the Republican-led Legislature, Florida had more enrollees than any other state using the federal marketplace instead of its own program.

9. Islamic militants beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff, who grew up in the Miami area and attended the University of Central Florida. Sotloff, 31, freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines before he was captured in Syria in 2013. He was beheaded by members of the Islamic State militant group, who posted video of his slaying in early September.

10. A Florida State University graduate opened fire at the school's library, wounding three before he was killed by police officers. Myron May, a 31-year-old attorney, said in videos and a journal obtained by police that he thought he was being watched and targeted by the government. One of the wounded students was left paralyzed.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS