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Dana Young

Dana Young announces Aug. 22 fundraiser for SD 18 re-election bid

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young is holding a fundraiser for her re-election campaign next week alongside former House Speaker Will Weatherford, his brother and former FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford and attorney Ron Christaldi.

The Aug. 22 event will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1601 S. MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Those looking to attend can direct their RSVPs to Kristin Lamb via Kristin@FLFStrategies.com or 850-339-5354.

Young was elected to Senate District 18 in 2016, but due to the shakeup caused by redistricting she and other state Senators in even-numbered districts must run for re-election after only two years.

She is facing a tough challenge from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who entered the race in mid-April. The most recent poll of the race shows Cruz with a slim advantage in the northwestern Hillsborough district, which covers much of Tampa.

SD 18 sits atop the Florida Democratic Party’s wish list this fall. Other than South Florida’s SD 36, where the party wasn’t able to recruit their first pick to challenge Republican Rep. Manny Diaz, SD 18 is the only district Democrats are after that voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Young has landed several endorsements, most recently from the Florida Professional Firefighters, and she’s started revving up her ground game with canvassing drives. But her biggest advantage this cycle is in the money race.

As of Aug. 3, Young had more than $334,000 banked in her campaign account at the last reporting checkpoint. Her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, has nearly $1.18 million at the ready.

By comparison, Cruz had $169,500 in hard money and another $273,200 in her political committee, Building the Bay PC, as of July 20.

Neither Cruz nor Young faces a primary opponent. The pair will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

 

Progressive group sending backup to state Senate battlegrounds

Progressive advocacy group For Our Future Florida announced Wednesday that it will pitch in on the effort to flip the state Senate, starting with the seats held by Republican Sens. Keith Perry and Dana Young.

Senate District 8, the Gainesville-based seat held by Perry, and Senate District 18, the Tampa-based seat held by Young, sit atop the Florida Democratic Party’s wish list for 2018.

Young was elected to SD 18 with a plurality of the vote two years ago as the district voted for Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, while Perry won his seat by 4 points as Donald Trump claimed a narrow victory despite Democrats holding an 8-point lead in voter registrations.

In 2018, both seats have drawn competitive challengers. House Minority Leader Janet Cruz currently leads the polls in her quest to unseat Young, while Gainesville physician Kayser Enneking, a first-time candidate, has posted impressive fundraising numbers in her bid to knock off Perry.

“All Florida has to show for Keith Perry and Dana Young’s time in Tallahassee is millions funneled out of our public schools leaving our state one of the worst for K-12 education in the country and nearly one million low-income residents blocked from accessing healthcare through Medicaid,” said For Our Future spox Blake Williams. “Working Floridians deserve representatives like Kayser Enneking and Janet Cruz who will look out for their best interests, advocate for the middle class, and fight for affordable healthcare.”

For Our Future Florida added that the “State Senate program will be a comprehensive field effort focused on both persuasion and mobilization universes and will include a vote-by-mail program layered into the field campaign.”

The same group, a branch of For Our Future Action Fund, recently held a “Statewide Canvass Day of Action” that consisted of 72 separate events in all corners of the state to make the case Democrats running for the state Legislature and U.S. House as well as for re-electing U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to a fourth term and sending a Democrat to the Governor’s Mansion for the first time this century.

For Our Future Florida pushes for progressive-backed plans to expand Social Security and Medicare, boost investments in green energy production, increase education funding and end the “school to prison pipeline.”

Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

Dana Young maintains threefold cash lead over Janet Cruz in SD 18

Republican Sen. Dana Young reported another $93,745 in fundraising last week, helping her hold on to a threefold cash lead over in her Senate District 18 re-election bid against House Minority Leader Janet Cruz.

Young’s new reports, covering July 21 through July 27, show $32,650 in hard money and another $61,095 in receipts for her affiliated political committee, Friends of Dana Young.

The campaign tally included more than two dozen checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative campaigns, with another slate of checks coming in at $500 or less.

The committee report was topped by a $15,000 contribution from tobacco company Reynolds American, followed by $10,000 checks from the political arm of the Florida Transportation Builders Association and Citizens for Fiscal Leadership, a political committee associated with fellow Republican Sens. Denise Grimsley and David Simmons.

At the end of the reporting period, Young had $1.5 million in the bank.

Young was elected to the northwestern Hillsborough County district in 2016, but due to the shake-up caused by redistricting she and other state Senators in even-numbered districts must run for re-election after only two years. She and Cruz, who is wrapping up her fourth term representing House District 62, are the only candidates running for the seat.

Cruz’ new reports showed $10,682 in hard money and another $9,900 raised for her political committee, Building the Bay PC, for a combined haul of $20,582 last week.

The campaign cash came in across 49 checks, including five max checks and another 29 contributions from small-dollar donors chipping in $100 or less.

On the committee side, the bulk of her haul came in through a $7,500 check from the Alliance for Progressive Representation, a political committee chaired by Mark Herron, a Tallahassee election-law attorney who works with Democrats. Floridians for Common Sense, a committee tied to St. Petersburg Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson, chipped in $2,000.

Through July 27, Cruz had raised a combined $464,590 between the two accounts with $415,538 at the ready.

SD 18 is one of two districts on FDP’s wish list that was carried by Hillary Clinton two years ago, and a recent poll shows a tight race between Young and Cruz, with Cruz holding a slim advantage.

Young recently challenged Cruz to two debates ahead of their general election showdown. After poking Young for being down in the polls, spokesperson Kevin Cate said the Cruz campaign would reach out to the debate organizers and that the campaign was “eager to debate expanding access to affordable care, more funding for schools, and common-sense gun reform.”

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

Dana Young challenges Janet Cruz to two debates

Voters in Hillsborough County’s Senate District 18 may get to see debates between the two women looking to represent them in the Florida Senate for the next four years.

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young said Wednesday she is challenging her opponent, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, to a pair of debates. Young and Cruz are the only candidates vying for SD 18. They will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

“With critical matters facing our local community and the State of Florida, it’s important for voters to know our respective positions and stances before General Election Day in November,” Young said. “That’s why I believe it is imperative that my opponent and I sit down together and discuss our positions in an open forum, so voters can learn what we’re all about and where we stand come Election Day.

“With so much misinformation out there, I am really looking forward to these debates and the opportunity to wade through all the clutter and show voters where I really stand on the issues,” Young concluded.

A news release from Young’s campaign said the first of the proposed debates would be held in September at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club and the second debate would be held in October at the University of Tampa. The campaign said more concrete details would be announced at a later date.

At first it was unclear whether Cruz, who entered the race in April, had agreed to the debates. Later on Wednesday afternoon, however, campaign spokesperson Kevin Cate sent out a statement responding to Young’s press release.

“Dana Young, most famous for hiding during the assault weapons ban vote and not speaking out against immigrant children being taken from their parents, is now pretending she is a debate organizer — unbeknownst to anyone else,” he said. “This press release is especially odd given her three rejections of Tiger Bay debates last cycle. I guess being down in the polls has a way of making politicians act funny. We’ll reach out to these organizations and see what’s up. We are eager to debate expanding access to affordable care, more funding for schools, and common sense gun reform.”

Young was elected to the Senate in 2016 after taking 48 percent of the vote in a four-way race against Democratic nominee Bob Buesing and a pair of third-party candidates. This cycle, the northwestern Hillsborough district is a top target for Florida Democrats.

SD 18 is one of two districts on FDP’s wish list that was carried by Hillary Clinton two years ago, and a recent poll shows a tight race between Young and Cruz, with Cruz holding a slim advantage.

As of July 6, Young had more than $316,000 banked in her campaign account. Her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, had another $1.06 million at the ready on July 13. Through the same dates, Cruz had $144,000 in hard money and another $244,000 in her political committee, Building the Bay PC.

Dana Young won’t ‘let politicians get in the way of good ideas’

State Sen. Dana Young is hitting Hillsborough airwaves this week with the first TV ad backing her Senate District 18 re-election bid.

The 30-second ad, titled “Good Ideas,” pitches the Tampa Republican as a problem solver in a time of partisan fighting. It begins with her addressing the camera before moving on to shots of the first-term Senator speaking with constituents and workers at parks, the port and in factories.

“Too many politicians would rather pick fights than solve problems, and that is the biggest problem of all,” Young says in the ad.

A narrator continues: “That’s why Dana Young fought to lower taxes, reduce wasteful spending and increase infrastructure investment, helping Florida create tens of thousands of new jobs, boosting wages for workers and strengthening our state’s economy.”

“I’m Dana Young and I don’t let politicians get in the way of good ideas,” Young concludes.

Young, elected in 2016, is facing a serious challenge this year from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who currently represents House District 62. SD 18 is the only district Florida Democrats are targeting for a flip that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and a recent poll shows the two Tampanians are neck-and-neck.

The ad buy, which comes as vote-by-mail ballots start shipping out to voters, is the first instance of Young flexing her considerable money advantage in the Tampa Bay swing seat.

As of July 6, she had more than $316,000 banked in her campaign account. Her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, had another $1.06 million at the ready on July 13. Cruz, who filed for the seat in April, has a combined $388,000 in the bank between her campaign account and political committee, Building the Bay PC.

Neither Cruz nor Young faces a challenger in the Aug. 28 primary election. They will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election.

Young’s ad is below.

Dana Young holding ‘super weekend’ canvassing events

State Sen. Dana Young is looking for supporters to turn out this weekend to help spread the word about her reelection campaign in Senate District 18.

To give the campaign a spark heading into the final three months before Election Day, the Tampa Republican has planned a “Super Weekend” of canvassing events in  the Hillsborough County district.

Canvassing drives Friday and Saturday will see volunteers check in with the campaign at 809 S. Albany Ave. in Tampa to grab their clipboards before fanning out to knock on doors. The Friday event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the Saturday drive will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those looking to pitch in on the effort can contact Nick Alvarez at 786-390-1736 for more information or to RSVP.

Young, elected in 2016, is facing a serious challenge this year from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who currently represents House District 62. SD 18 is the only district Florida Democrats are targeting for a flip that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and a recent poll shows the two Tampanians are neck-and-neck.

Last week, Young got a boost from three high-profile endorsements. On Monday she earned an endorsement from the Florida Realtors, followed by the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police on Tuesday and the Florida Medical Association on Wednesday.

The Florida FOP was the fifth police union to back Young, following the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Tampa, West Central Florida and Suncoast chapters of the PBA.

Neither Cruz nor Young faces a challenger in the Aug. 28 primary. They will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election.

The canvassing invitation is below.

Greyhound racing-ban group releases another round of endorsements

The Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 campaign Wednesday announced it had received endorsements from more current and former lawmakers, civic organizations, animal welfare organizations, and others.

Among them: state Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican. “It’s time for Florida to move beyond mandated greyhound racing,” Young said.

Usually, pari-mutuels in Florida are required to continue running live dog or horse races to have slots and card games. Attempts at “decoupling,” removing the live racing requirement, has failed in the Legislature in recent years.

The campaign is promoting passage of Amendment 13, put on the November ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC).

The proposal, which needs at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution, aims at ending commercial dog racing in the state. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 11 tracks.

According to the campaign, Wednesday’s endorsements include:

— CRC member and state Sen. Tom Lee, the Thonotosassa Republican and former Senate President (2004-06) who sponsored the measure that became Amendment 13.

— Other CRC members: former Senate President (2012-14) Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican; former state Sen. Lisa Carlton, a Sarasota Republican; current Sen. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat; Tallahassee-based political consultant Brecht Heuchan; former Sewall’s Point mayor Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.

— Two former state senators, Democrats Eleanor Sobel of Hollywood and Maria Sachs of Delray Beach.

— The Greater Tarpon Springs Democratic Club, the OurRev305 progressive group in Miami, First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ocala, Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Edgewater Animal Shelter, Southeast Volusia Humane Society, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Pets Ad Litem, Imagine Our Florida Inc.

Dana Young lands firefighter support in SD 18

Two firefighter unions announced Monday that they were backing Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young in her re-election bid for Senate District 18.

The Florida Professional Firefighters and Tampa Firefighters Local 754 are the latest first responder groups to endorse Young, who had previously earned the support of several other first responder groups, including five police unions.

“The 25,000 men and women of the Florida Professional Firefighters and Paramedics are proud to endorse Senator Dana Young for re-election,” said Rocco Salvatori, vice president of the Florida Professional Firefighters. “She stands up for Firefighters in the Florida Senate, and we proudly stand with her.”

“We as representatives of Tampa Firefighters, Local 754, take great pleasure in endorsing your candidacy for 2018 Florida State Senate, District 18,” said Tampa Firefighters President Stephen Suarez and secretary Ken Huff in a joint statement.

In accepting the endorsements, Young said, “Floridians around the state and in our Tampa community depend on Florida’s first responders to be the first on the scene when there is an emergency, and as a lawmaker, it is my duty to ensure we have their back as well.

“During my time in the Florida Legislature, I have supported measures to benefit the men and women who are committed to the safety and protection of our state, and I am proud to have earned the support of both the Florida Professional Firefighters and Paramedics and the Tampa Firefighters, Local 754.”

Young is up against House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in November, and recent polls show the pair in a dead heat with Cruz holding a slim edge.

In fundraising, however, Young is far outperforming her challenger.

Young currently holds a better than 3-to-1 lead in cash on hand, with more than $315,000 of hard money in the bank and another $1.05 million on hand in her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, as of July 6. Through the same date, Cruz had $400,472 between her campaign account and political committee, Building the Bay PC.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

Dana Young expands cash lead over Janet Cruz

New fundraising reports show Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young continued to pile on to her fundraising lead over House Minority Janet Cruz during the last week of June and the first week of July.

Young’s campaign said it brought in $22,900 in hard money between June 23 and July 6 but did not say how much it had on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Finance reports for her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, show another $79,000 raised during the same stretch for a total haul of $101,900. The committee had $1.05 million in the bank on July 6.

Cruz, meanwhile, added $11,145 in hard money and tacked on another $5,000 for her political committee, Building The Bay PC. She has now raised more than $433,000 since entering the race in mid-April. She had $400,472 on hand between the two accounts at the end of the reporting period.

The Cruz campaign also Friday that her campaign bid had picked up an endorsement from EMILY’s List, the progressive organization that supports women candidates for office. Cruz was one of a dozen candidates included in a bulk approval from the group.

Cruz and Young are the only candidates vying for Senate District 18, which covers part of western Hillsborough County.

SD 18 is the only district Florida Democrats are targeting for a flip that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and a recent poll shows the two Tampanians are neck-and-neck.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Marion Hammer files million-dollar lawsuit against alleged harassers

Veteran Florida-based National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer is seeking $1 million in damages, saying she was harassed and threatened by four men from across the country.

Hammer filed a lawsuit, including a motion for preliminary injunction, in federal court in Tallahassee on Friday. The case was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.

She described herself as “a 79-year-old grandmother and nationally renowned civil rights advocate who has spent the better part of her life protecting the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Hammer is the “victim of cyberstalking, harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intrusion upon seclusion under Florida statutory and common law,” her complaint says.

Her verified complaint says her troubles began after “the tragic shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and continuing after the national debate over gun control took center stage.” A Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Parkland, Broward County high school left 14 students and three staff members dead.

She lobbied against the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” eventually passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Rick Scott, billed as a “comprehensive approach to addressing issues (of) firearm and school safety, and community mental health resources.”

Hammer soon became “the target of a coordinated attack intended to humiliate, harass, and cause substantial emotional distress,” the complaint says.

“For example, Hammer received the same postcards from various individuals throughout the United States, often mailed from the same location,” it says. “In several instances, the content of the communications (including email and social media) Hammer received used the same specific terms and phrases, thus demonstrating direction and cooperation.”

The complaint includes a long list of vituperative messages she says she has received, most using epithets and foul language.

“Whenever she is in public she worries that the people who have been harassing her will confront her and that a confrontation could turn violent,” it adds. “… She adjusted her schedule and the places she eats with her family so that they are not predictable. Her entire family group does not go anywhere together any more.”

The named defendants “sought out Hammer’s e-mail address” and one sent her “graphic photos of gunshot victims, including an unidentified person in a hospital bed with gaping leg wounds, and a photo of President John F. Kennedy’s head after he was assassinated.”

Others consisted of “indirect and/or direct threats accompanied by humiliating and abusive personal attacks.”

Hammer said she’s not alone, mentioning Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi being recently “confronted and harassed by protestors” coming out of a theater in Tampa where she had watched a Mr. Rogers documentary, and state Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, being yelled at that she had “blood on her hands” and called a “killer” and “murderer.”

She seeks an court order forbidding further communication to her from the defendants, calling it “beyond all bounds of decency” and “odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

“Harassment is not speech: It is wrongful conduct that may take the form of speech,” the complaint says. “Consequently, it can be enjoined without running afoul of the First Amendment.”

She’s represented by attorney Shane B. Vogt of Tampa.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. — The News Service of Florida reports a similar second lawsuit was filed later in the day by Hammer in Leon County Circuit Civil court against Brian Fitzgerald, identified as a 66-year-old resident of Miami-Dade County.

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