Dana Young – Page 4 – Florida Politics

It’s on: ​Dana Young​’s​ fundraiser for Senate re-election​ is Tuesday​

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young is holding a campaign kickoff fundraiser Tuesday for her re-election to Senate District 18.

Young’s event is set for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 24 at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club, 5320 Interbay Boulevard. Those looking to attend are encouraged to send an email to Kristin Lamb at Kristin@FLFSStrategies.com for more information or to RSVP.

The host committee for the event lists dozens of names, including several of Young’s colleagues in the Legislature. At the top of the invite are Senate President Designate Bill Galvano, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, St. Pete Sen. Jeff Brandes and Thonotosassa Sen. Tom Lee. Republican Reps. Jamie GrantShawn HarrisonJake Raburn and Jackie Toledo will also be in attendance.

Young spent three terms in the Florida House before she was elected to SD 18 in 2016. She won her first term with about 48 percent of the vote in a four-way race against Democrat Bob Buesing, who received 41 percent of the vote, and no-party candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove, who received 9.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Buesing filed for the seat again ahead of the 2018 contest, but now it looks like Young’s main challenge will come from House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, who filed for the seat Tuesday after weeks of speculation.

If Buesing were to back out, which he may, the Young v. Cruz head-to-head would be nearly guaranteed — Redner has said he’ll stay out of the contest this year and so far no other candidates have entered the race.

On the fundraising front, Young is the clear front-runner.

On Tuesday, her campaign announced that she had raised nearly $1.3 million for her re-election bid so far, with $950,000 in the bank. That sum includes $231,000 of hard money in her campaign account, with the rest in her supporting political committee, Friends of Dana Young.

Through the same date, Buesing had raised about $116,000 and had about $105,000 in the bank. Cruz had raised about $65,000 for a Hillsborough County Commission campaign before announcing she would run for SD 18.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Dana Young Fundraiser 4.24.2018

Bob Buesing exits SD 18 race, clearing way for Janet Cruz

Democrat Bob Buesing said Tuesday that he is ending his campaign to unseat Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young and throwing his support behind House Minority Leader Janet Cruz.

The Tampa attorney announced his exit to the South Tampa Democratic Club Tuesday evening, ending speculation of if or when he would step aside in favor of Cruz, who officially declared for Senate District 18 last week.

Buesing’s exit leaves only Cruz and Young in the race, which is a major target for Florida Democrats, who are expanding their map for the 2018 cycle.

Shortly after Buesing’s announcement, Cruz put out a statement thanking him.

“Bob Buesing is a gentleman. I appreciate his kind words and lifetime of work on behalf of children and families in Tampa Bay,” she said. “With his help we will flip this seat, expand access to affordable healthcare and early education, and ban assault weapons.”

Prior to Cruz’ entry, Buesing said his “goal has always been electing a Democrat to this seat who will serve the people of Hillsborough County well in Tallahassee.

“To that end, I announced my candidacy last January and have run a campaign based on the values and ideas that I believe represent the will of the people in this District. Should Janet Cruz decide to file then I will make the best decision for my friends, family, and the constituents of Senate District 18.”

Buesing was the 2016 Democratic nominee for the seat but found himself in a four-way race with Young, businessman Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove. Young won that race with 48 percent of the vote compared to 41 percent Buesing, 9.5 percent for Redner and 1 percent for Upthegrove.

The fact that Young won her 2-year term with a plurality has been a major talking point for the Buesing campaign since he opened his campaign account for a rematch at the beginning of the year.

Before Buesing’s entry, Redner told him he would not run again and would back his former rival in the race, though in a separate conversation with Florida Politics Redner questioned whether Buesing was the right candidate to run against Young.

Through the end of March, Buesing brought in $115,925 in campaign contributions, including $34,460 in his most recent campaign finance report. He had $105,000 in the bank at the end of last month.

Buesing told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he planned to refund at least 80 percent of those contributions and encourage his donors to forward their dollars to Cruz’ campaign “or any of the wonderful Democratic candidates we have in the cycle.”

Not having a primary challenger helps, though Cruz will still need a major fundraising boost to be competitive against Young, who has $950,000 in the bank between her campaign and committee accounts in addition to the benefit of incumbency.

If the fundraising comes, SD 18 isn’t altogether unfavorable for Democrats. The district has 7,500 more registered Democratic voters than Republican, and it voted plus-5 for Hillary Clinton in 2018.

Jackie Toledo holding April 26 campaign kickoff

Freshman Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo is holding a kickoff event for her House District 60 re-election campaign April 26 in Tampa.

The fundraiser will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Byblos Café, 2832 S. MacDill Ave. Those looking to attend can RSVP by sending an email to Lynnette Russell at lprussell5@gmail.com.

The host committee for the fundraiser lists a number of Tampa Bay area Republican officials, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister and Tampa Sen. Dana Young. Also on the list is House Speaker Designate Jose Oliva.

Toledo is running against Democrat Debra Bellanti for a second term in the coastal Hillsborough County District.

After $2,750 raised and $16,500 spent in March, the Tampa Republican’s campaign account has $71,300 banked. Bellanti, who filed shortly after New Year’s, has raised a total of $18,412, with $8,200 on hand at the end of March.

HD 60 voted narrowly for Donald Trump in the 2016 race, though Toledo easily bested Democratic attorney David Singer on Election Day.

The fundraiser invite is below.

toledo, jackie - 4.26 invite

Electoral map scrambles race for Senate presidency

For the first time this decade, a race to one day lead the Florida Senate is not confined to an intra-party scrum among Republican lawmakers.

And while Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo is now the slight front-runner to hold the gavel beginning in 2022, she and her GOP colleagues must first navigate two election cycles in which control of the Senate could be at stake.

Passidomo is emerging as the leading candidate to succeed Senate President-designate Bill Galvano and Majority Leader Wilton Simpson after Tampa Republican Dana Young declared that she would not pursue the Senate presidency. That left Passidomo and St. Augustine Republican Travis Hutson as the two contenders for the position.

Based on not-for-attribution conversations with at least four members of the 2016 class of the Florida Senate, other Senators, and key staff and lobbyists close to Passidomo, Hutson, Galvano, and Simpson, it appears that Passidomo holds a one-  or two-vote lead over Hutson within the nine-member class of Republicans.

In addition to Passidomo, Hutson, and Young, the other Republican members of the 2016 class are Dennis Baxley, Doug Broxson, George Gainer, Debbie Mayfield, Keith Perry and Greg Steube.

Steube is exiting the Senate to run for Congress, so he’s not part of the math here.

Almost all of those tracking the race peg the vote at 5 to 3 for Passidomo with Baxley, Broxson, Gainer and Young behind her. Hutson can count on the support of Perry and Mayfield.

The consensus that Passidomo is leading the race gelled last week when Senate leaders and elite-level lobbyists raised money for the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee at a series of events in Nashville. According to an itinerary obtained by Florida Politics, lawmakers were treated to a private concert by Phil Vassar at the Loveless Barn and a songwriters luncheon at the famous Bluebird Cafe.

With the twang of country music in the background, a handful of Senators and other Adams Street players talked openly about two factors driving the race in Passidomo’s direction.

The first is Young bowing out of the race and squarely backing Passidomo. Sources close to both Passidomo and Young say that the Tampa Republican has, indeed, signed a pledge card for Passidomo.

The second factor has a tinge of post hoc ergo propter hoc, specifically that since Hutson was not able to win his own class, he could not win the race at large.

“If you can’t even win your own class, your butt has no business being up there [in the president’s rostrum],” said one member aligned with Passidomo, who asked to speak without attribution so as to provide clearer insight into the workings of the Senate.

Hutson has told a handful of Republican lobbyists and donors that he expects the contest between him and Passidomo to be a “long slog” and may involve the votes of members from the incoming class of Senators.

However, Hutson’s position runs counter to what President-designate Galvano and Leader Simpson have reportedly told other members. Fearing a repeat of the kind of race between President Joe Negron and Jack Latvala, which divided the chamber for years, the incoming leaders want the matter settled before the November elections.

This said, Galvano and Simpson are both said to want to be careful about not interfering in the Passidomo vs. Hutson contest. They, like other Senators, prefer not to openly discuss leadership races other than to note that the Senate conducts its business differently than the Florida House, which has endured back-to-back internal conflicts about who will lead the chamber after Jose Oliva.

Yet what is really concerning Galvano, Simpson, and other GOP members is not which Republican will follow them, but whether it will even be a Republican.

With Lantana Democrat Lori Berman‘s unsurprising win Tuesday night in a special election for a seat in the Florida Senate, the chamber is now divided 23 to 16 between Republicans and Democrats.

As previously reported on Florida Politics, state Democrats are systematically laying out a plan to recapture the upper chamber. They hope to win at least four of seven battleground seats on the ballot in 2018.

To that end, Rep. Janet Cruz has entered the race for SD 18, where she will try to pick off Young and trial lawyer Carrie Pilon has filed to challenge incumbent Jeff Brandes in SD 24. The party likes its chances with the campaigns of Kayser Enneking and Bob Doyel, two first-time candidates challenging Republican incumbents Keith Perry and Kelli Stargel, respectively.

It is also recruiting former state Rep. Amanda Murphy to run for the open seat in Senate District 16, once held by Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala and Alex Penelas, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County, to run for SD 36, where Republican Rene Garcia is term-limited.

On Wednesday, Democrats were relieved to learn that Jose Javier Rodriguez will remain in SD 37, giving the party a better shot of funding those campaigns.

Even if Democrats fall short of winning control of the Florida Senate, the results in these competitive seats could impact Passidomo vs. Hutson (assuming Passidomo doesn’t have the race locked-up by November. If Perry loses his re-election bid, Passidomo would have a hammer-lock on the contest, but her chances could be hurt if Young were to lose.

All the more reason for Passidomo to conclude her business by the summer.

Dana Young has $950K on hand for SD 18 re-election

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young said Tuesday that she’s raised nearly $1.3 million for her Senate District 18 re-election bid and has $950,000 in the bank.

“I am truly honored by the overwhelming support I have received for my re-election campaign for State Senate District 18,” Young said in a press release. “I look forward to continuing to meet with voters throughout our community and share my message of ensuring that Florida remains a great place to live, work and play by keeping taxes low, making education affordable and accessible, and by preserving and protecting our environmental resources.”

“We have a long road ahead of us, but we could not be starting off on a better foot, and I thank our supporters for this strong step forward.”

Young’s March haul measured in at $46,000 for the campaign and $36,000 for her affiliated political committee, Friends of Dana Young, for a total of $82,000 raised last month.

Topping the donor roll was Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson. It gave $20,000 to Young’s committee, followed by Teco Energy with a $10,000 check. A committee tied to Ocala Republican Rep. Dennis Baxley chipped in $4,000.

The campaign account took in 52 contributions, including 41 for the campaign maximum of $1,000. It also received $25,000 worth of “in-kind” support from the Republican Party of Florida, which provided polling and research.

Young’s announcement came shortly after Tampa Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz announced she would challenge Young for the Hillsborough County-based seat in the fall.

Tampa attorney Bob Buesing, the 2016 Democratic nominee, is also in the race, though he may opt to step aside in order to give Cruz a clear path to the general election.

Janet Cruz

Janet Cruz makes it official: She’s running for Florida Senate

It’s official: House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz will challenge Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young in Senate District 18.

The Tampa native announced her bid Tuesday. She joins, for now at least, Tampa attorney Bob Buesing in the Democratic Primary.

“I’m running because Tampa Bay families deserve a leader who will fight for them in Tallahassee — not sell them out to big donors. Our teachers, nurses, moms, dads, small business owners and working families are the backbone of our community and they deserve a State Senator who will always put them first,” Cruz said in a news release.

“I love our community and I am fed up with lawmakers who put the interests of the NRA, the for-profit school industry, and insurance companies before the people they represent. Under Republican leadership, this Legislature has continuously underfunded our public schools, focused on creating low wage jobs that leave working families in a cycle of poverty, and given away millions of taxpayer dollars to insurance companies while health insurance costs for working families skyrocket.”

The announcement, particularly the bit on the NRA, confirms one line of attack on Young will be her vote against an assault weapons ban — added after roll call — in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Young’s no vote on the ban has already been used against her by Buesing, and those close to the Cruz camp have said over the past few weeks that the vote, and the shooting itself, were pivotal in convincing Cruz to challenge the incumbent lawmaker.

“Florida deserves better. I’m proud of my record of standing against disastrous policies that have led to our children feeling unsafe in their schools and an economy that only works for the very wealthy — leaving more and more Floridians behind. I have voted again and again to fully fund public education, keep housing costs low, and protect our access to clean air and water,” Cruz continued.

“The Floridians who have been making their voices heard across our state, from the Women’s March to the incredible students from Parkland, deserve true allies in their elected officials and I will proudly carry their fight with me back to Tallahassee.”

Cruz has been linked to a possible Senate District 18 campaign for weeks — Minority Leader Oscar Braynon not only acknowledged her aspirations last month but said he’d been encouraging her to file. Sources close Cruz and the Senate Democratic leadership gave the rumor a signal boost on Monday when they said her announcement was imminent.

Since news of Cruz’ interest broke, there’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the future of Buesing’s campaign. Some close to the Florida Democratic Party’s senate campaign arm said he would exit the race to give Cruz a clear path to the general election ballot.

Buesing issued a statement addressing the rumor but didn’t deny it.

“My goal has always been electing a Democrat to this seat who will serve the people of Hillsborough County well in Tallahassee,” he said last week. “To that end, I announced my candidacy last January and have run a campaign based on the values and ideas that I believe represent the will of the people in this District. Should Janet Cruz decide to file then I will make the best decision for my friends, family, and the constituents of Senate District 18.”

Now that Cruz has filed, Buesing has a decision to make.

A Senate bid wasn’t always the path for Cruz’ political future.

Instead of looking to extend her career as a lawmaker, she set up a campaign for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Now that she’s made her decision, she’ll have to hit the ground running to catch up to Young on the fundraising front.

Through the end of February, Young had $189,000 in her campaign account and $711,000 in her political committee, Friends of Dana Young. March brought the two accounts another $82,000 and she now has a combined $964,000 in the bank.

Cruz has about $61,000 on hand in her County Commission campaign account. Buesing, by the same date, had about $79,000 in the bank.

If the fundraising comes, SD 18 isn’t altogether unfavorable for Democrats. The district has 11,000 more registered Democratic voters than Republican, and it voted plus-5 for Hillary Clinton in 2018 and

No change of plans (yet) from Bob Buesing

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young could see one re-election challenger swapped for another, according to sources close to the Florida Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm.

Young currently faces Tampa attorney Bob Buesing, who finished second in the four-way race for Senate District 18 in the 2016 cycle, and there are rumors he’s agreed to step aside to make way for Tampa Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz.

In a statement to Florida Politics, Buesing neither confirmed nor denied he’d exit the race, instead saying he’d wait on Cruz to make a move.

“My goal has always been electing a Democrat to this seat who will serve the people of Hillsborough County well in Tallahassee,” he said. “To that end, I announced my candidacy last January and have run a campaign based on the values and ideas that I believe represent the will of the people in this District. Should Janet Cruz decide to file then I will make the best decision for my friends, family, and the constituents of Senate District 18.”

Florida Politics reported last week that Cruz had spoken to Democratic leaders about making a run in SD 18 and was received positively – Minority Leader Oscar Braynon said he’d been supportive of Cruz entering the race since Democrats flipped SD 40 with the election of Annette Taddeo late last year.

She also reached out to Buesing last week, asking him to step aside to avoid a costly Democratic primary, and it seems that the conversation went well, according to sources with knowledge of the discussion.

Before Florida Democrats started eyeing more Senate seats in the 2018 cycle, Cruz had filed to run for the Hillsborough County Commission seat held by term-limited Republican Sandy Murman.

That seat is still listed to come up in the 2020 cycle, but Cruz would’ve likely been on the 2018 ballot if Murman did the expected and vacated the seat early to run for the countywide District 7 seat in the fall.

But SD 18 is looking more likely by the day.

When Young won election to the Senate in 2016, she received 48 percent of the vote, followed by Buesing at 41 percent, businessman Joe Redner at 9 percent and Sheldon Upthegrove at 1 percent.

Buesing has pointed to that spread as evidence he’d have a slugger’s chance in a head-to-head rematch – Redner already said he’s not planning another run and would instead back Buesing.

Cruz certainly brings more name recognition to the table than Buesing – her HD 62 seat is fully within SD 18 and she’s held it for 8 years – so that could give her a leg up over Buesing if she and Young are the only names on the ballot in the fall.

The other half of the equation is fundraising, and Cruz has a lot of catching up to do.

Through the end of February, Young had $189,000 in her campaign account and $711,000 in her political committee, Friends of Dana Young.

Cruz has about $61,000 on hand in her County Commission campaign account. Buesing, through the same date, had about $79,000 in the bank.

Carrie Pilon - SD 24

Trial lawyer Carrie Pilon files for state Senate

Democrat Carrie Pilon announced Monday that she’s filed to run for the Senate District 24 seat currently held by St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Florida Politics previously reported Pilon, a former prosecutor who now runs an injury law firm, was planning a run for the Pinellas County district.

“I’m running for the State Senate because the legislature in Tallahassee is not working for Florida’s families,” Pilon said in a press release. “As a member of the State Senate, I’ll hold special interests accountable, and stand up to the Legislature’s Trump-style agenda. I’ll invest in our community by ending corporate welfare, fighting for a quality and safe education, affordable healthcare, and protecting our precious natural resources.

“As a small business owner, I know firsthand the challenges of meeting payroll and providing health insurance for our staff and families. We deserve a state legislature focused on helping our small businesses grow, not handing out corporate welfare checks to their friends.”

Pilon is an alumna of Stetson University law school and Florida State University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The St. Pete native is also the daughter-in-law of former Sarasota Republican Rep. Ray Pilon, who was quick to endorse Brandes Monday morning.

“Senator Brandes and I served in the Florida House and were both elected in 2010,” he said. “We worked closely on many issues and that continued when he was elected to the Senate. He is a person of high moral values, of integrity, honesty and fairness.”

Ray Pilon served three terms in the House before running for state Senate in 2016 and losing in the Republican Primary. He is looking to reclaim his old House seat in 2018.

Carrie Pilon’s campaign declined to comment on Ray Pilon endorsing Brandes.

So far, Carrie Pilon is the only challenger to file for SD 24.

Brandes has been in the Senate since 2012, when he was elected to the pre-redistricting SD 22, and had been a member of the Florida House for the two years prior.

He didn’t face a Democratic opponent in the 2012 or 2016 cycles, though in 2014 he was challenged by USF St. Pete Professor Judithanne McLauchlan. He outmatched her in fundraising, bringing in $815,000 to her $307,000, and secured re-election by a 16-point margin on Election Day.

Through the end of February, Brandes had raised $240,000 for his re-election campaign and had about $124,000 of that money in the bank.

That number will likely shoot up now that he’s contested – shortly after Pilon’s announcement, Brandes’ campaign sent out an invite for an April 25 fundraiser. The host committee list featured several high-profile Republicans, including Tampa Sen. Dana Young, St. Petersburg Rep. Chris Sprowls and former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker.

Republicans have a 4-point advantage over Democrats, 37-33, when it comes to voter registrations in the district, though the seat is far from a Republican stronghold.

SD 24 would have gone for Barack Obama by about a point in 2012 and 2.5 points in 2008. In 2016, the district flipped and went plus-7 for Donald Trump.

The invite to Brandes’ fundraiser is below.

Brandes fundraiser 4.25.2018

Rick Scott highlights money for military, veterans in Tampa

Gov. Rick Scott visited USAA in Tampa on Monday “to highlight $180 million in total funding in his Securing Florida’s Future Budget to support active military, veterans, and their families.”

The Governor’s Office announced the event in a press release.

He also signed HB 29, which will “increase opportunities and reduce fees for Florida military, veterans and their families.”

The bill, known as the “Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Family Opportunity Act,” expands legislation signed into law by Scott in 2014 (more here) by reducing professional licensing fees and requirements for certain military members, veterans, and their spouses.

This bill also designates March 25 of every year as “Medal of Honor Day” to honor the individuals recognized with the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force in the Armed Services of the United States.

The “Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Family Opportunity Act” was named after the late Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, a veteran and a member of the Florida House of Representatives who passed away last year.

janet cruz

Janet Cruz is eyeing Dana Young’s Senate seat for 2018

House Minority Leader Janet Cruz may not be running for the Hillsborough County Commission after all.

The Tampa Democrat is eyeing a race against Republican incumbent Dana Young in state Senate District 18, which covers much of Tampa and western unincorporated Hillsborough County.

According to several sources close to the Florida Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm, Cruz has spoken to both Senate Democratic leadership and high-level donors about her entering the race.

These sources also say Cruz recognizes she has a tight window to decide.

Minority Leader Oscar Braynon said he’s aware of Cruz’ interest in the race and has been encouraging her to run since Democrats flipped Senate District 40 with the election of Annette Taddeo late last year.

Cruz’ interest has grown in recent weeks in part due to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Young’s later vote on an assault weapons ban in the back half of the 2018 Legislative Session.

Young’s post-roll call no vote on the ban has already been used against her by her current opponent.

Cruz, term-limited out of the House in 2018, filed in September for the Hillsborough Commission District 1 seat, which encompasses South Tampa, much of Town ‘n’ Country and West Tampa, and much of the South Shore area.

Democrats are looking at SD 18 as one of the most flippable seats in what is widely expected to be a Democratic “blue wave” election year. While term-limited Republican Sandy Murman has held the seat since 2010, before that, Republican Rose Ferlita and Democrat Kathy Castor have represented District 1.

One of the main reasons Cruz would be prompted to switch races could be that the Hillsborough Commission is considering removing at-large seats.

So far, Young is already facing a rematch with Tampa attorney Bob Buesing, a Democrat who lost to Young 48-41 percent in 2016. Florida Politics is told that Cruz is asking Buesing to step aside to avoid a Democratic primary.

If she does enter the SD 18 race, Cruz may have an uphill climb to catch up with Young’s robust fundraising, amassing a war chest of more than $270,000 to date in her bid for a second term. Her supporting PAC, Friends of Dana Young, has also raised more than $900,000 for the 2018 cycle.

For its part, Team Young doesn’t seem fazed.

“The Democrats can haggle back-and-forth all day long over who they want to put up against Dana Young,” says Sarah Bascom, a spokesperson for the Young campaign. “At the end of the day, whoever they put forward, Dana Young has a strong record standing up for the citizens of Hillsborough County, and will run on that record and win.”

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons