Dana Young Archives - Page 7 of 30 - Florida Politics

Dana Young beats Bob Buesing in SD 18 race

In one of the nastiest state legislative races in Florida this fall, Republican Dana Young has defeated Democrat Bob Buesing, 48 percent to 41 percent. Joe Redner finished third with 9.5 percent.  Sheldon Upthegrove, a staff sergeant at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, finished forth with less than one percent of the vote.

“Tampa Bay voters have spoken tonight in favor of an experienced and proven voice that is dedicated to reforming our state government, and I am honored to be elected your next state senator,” said Young. “This election was won by grassroots campaigning. I cannot thank all of the volunteers and supporters enough who came out each and every day, working tirelessly to spread our positive message of reform. I also want to extend a special thank you to my husband, Matt, and both of my daughters for their encouragement from the very beginning of this journey.”

For liberals who were hoping to defeat Young in this race, there had been concern that Redner, who has ran a Democrat in previous elections and arguably had greater name recognition than Buesing, took votes away from the Democrat, ultimately aiding Young.

Young raised more than $2 million between her own campaign contributions and her political committee. She was also aided by a controversial ad produced on her behalf against Buesing by the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee.

Buesing raised more than $500,000 on his own and his PAC, Floridians for Early Education, raised another $133,000. The Florida Democratic Party also purchased ads on his behalf, and there was fierce advocacy blasting Young on the part of the group Florida Strong.

Until the last week of the campaign, Young avoided any scheduled debates with her three opponents, drawing derisive remarks from her three opponents as being in “hiding.”

Buesing and Redner hammered Young’s record relentlessly during the campaign, particularly the environment. Other third-party groups also blasted Young on her vote for fracking, which seemed to dominate the last few weeks of the campaign (Young insisted her vote on HB 191 was for a moratorium on the practice until more studies could be conducted. She maintained that she has never supported the practice, and never will.)

Where might there be a surprise on Election Night in Florida?

If the chalk won every game and match-up, there would be no Las Vegas or Macau. There would be no March Madness.

If the favorites won every time, there would be no reason to even turn on the television. We watch and love sports and gambling because the underdogs can and do win.

In no-limit Texas hold ’em poker, holding a pair of aces gives a player an 87 percent chance of winning against a seven-deuce offsuit before the flop. But that still means, over time, the worst hand in poker still wins 13 percent of the time.

The same thinking can be applied to politics. Despite advantages of name recognition and money, upsets occur. There’s no better recent example in Florida politics than in 2012 when the Democratic challenger defeated Republican Chris Dorworth, who was at the time in line to become speaker of the Florida House.

Dorworth’s aces were cracked by Mike Clelland‘s seven-deuce offset. I don’t like beating up on Dorworth anymore (especially after this weekend, when he got married), but I have to ask, is there another Dorworth situation in the cards for Tuesday?

Looking at the congressional races in Florida, the opportunities for an upset are thin. Whatever changes that were to be made to Florida’s congressional delegation have already happened (Gwen Graham not running, Corrine Brown losing to Al Lawson, etc.). This isn’t to say there aren’t interesting races to watch Tuesday because there are in CD 13, 18, and 26. However, the underdogs in those races are not exactly Davids facing Goliaths. Those three races are basically coin flips at this point.

The one competitive congressional race which is not a coin flip is CD 7 where Republican incumbent John Mica is attempting to hold off Stephanie Murphy. The smart money has been watching this race for more than a month as Murphy has closed on Mica, so it would not be out of left field were Murphy to knock off Mica. Still, if you had asked political observers a year ago if John Mica was in trouble of losing his seat, the answer would have been a loud ‘No.’

At the legislative level, its important to separate the competitive from the earth-shattering. There are competitive races in SD 8, 13, 18, 37, 39, and 40 as well as half a dozen state House races, but, again these are basically coin flips. Republican Dana Young is up single digits over Democrat Bob Buesing in SD 18; no one can safely predict who will win in the South Florida seats; and the House races will largely be decided by the top of the ballot.

BUT! And this is a huge but … a Sir Mix-A-Lot-sized but … were there to be a Dorworthian surprise Tuesday night, it will probably occur in some of the state House races in South Florida.

Again, a huge disclaimer that I am not suggesting that these upsets will occur, but there has been talk — over the last two weeks, especially as Donald Trump was tanking and through South Florida’s “gangbusters” early voting turnout Sunday — that if a wave the size of the one in the movie “Poseidon” were to hit, some Republican House candidates could be in trouble, such as Carlos Trujillo in HD 105 and Michael Bileca in HD 115

Mind you, I re-watched the movie “The Big Short” this weekend, so my mind is thinking in terms of failing tranches. Not that Trujillo or Bileca or any of the other South Florida Republican campaigns should be compared with subprime mortgages. They’re not. They’ve run AAA-rated campaigns.

But that’s the thing about black swans. They appear so rarely in nature, they are almost impossible to predict. The best you can do is look in the direction they might appear.

And on Tuesday night, that may be in South Florida.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.7.16 — Closing arguments

In this space on Friday, we reminisced about October surprises in previous election cycles before referring to the dual bombshells that have rocked this year’s presidential election: First, the release of that 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump spoke lewdly about women, followed 10 days ago with the announcement of the discovery of hundreds of thousands of emails that could be related to the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton‘s potential violation of national security documents.

We surmised the surprises were over, but then FBI Director James Comey did what a week ago both sides said he SHOULD do — reveal more information about the nature of the emails.

Comey said during the fourth quarter of the 1 p.m. NFL games yesterday that the newly reviewed emails do not incriminate Clinton — and suddenly all of those who were praising Comey were are now condemning him.

“You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks,” Trump told an audience in Michigan yesterday. “Right now she is being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system,” he said.

“This confirms everything Donald Trump’s been saying about the system,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi added. “The system is dysfunctional. The system is broken. And Hillary Clinton is the system.”

Some analysts now say this latest news could benefit Trump, as it becomes further proof the system is “rigged.”

Then again, some Democrats have insisted Comey’s announcement on Oct. 28 actually reenergized THEIR base.

“We’ve seen it add to the energy on our side,” Tim Kaine told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “People on our side view this campaign as so important, the ‘Stronger Together’ message as so important and people don’t want it to be distracted. So there has been a great uptick in energy on our side in the early vote.”

Then again, what else are running mates supposed to say?

On Fox News Sunday, Mike Pence insisted the huge numbers of Latinos flocking to the polls is really a good thing for the GOP ticket, telling host Chris Wallace he wasn’t worried that Trump’s incendiary comments about Mexicans were going to haunt the campaign now.

“I’m really not,” Pence said. “The truth is that Hispanic-Americans have the same concerns that every other American does. And we want to get this economy moving again. We want our country to be safe. I was just down in Miami this last weekend, saw overwhelming support for Donald Trump, strong stand for freedom in this hemisphere, standing strongly against what the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton want to continue to do.  “

Wallace interjected: “So, you think all those Hispanics, sir, are coming out to vote for Trump and not for Clinton?  Really?”

“No, I’m saying …. I’m saying that the American people want change,” Pence said, pivoting to his own personal anecdote to confirm his beliefs. “That’s Americans coming from every category. I literally saw it. I stopped by and had some Cuban coffee at a classic stop in Miami. Karen and I had a hard time getting through the place with people that were enthusiastic about Donald Trump’s stand for a stronger America at home and abroad, getting this economy moving, and repealing Obamacare.  “

There you have it!

In other news …

At Sunday’s “Souls to the Polls” event in East Tampa, Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober  in the race of his career — met up with a man he once defended in court on murder charges.

Donald Trump was in Tampa Saturday morning,

Lisa Montelione wants Shawn Harrison to stop airing an ad that uses footage from her own ad to depict her as being missing in action.

The Senate District 18 race between Bob Buesing, Dana Young, and Joe Redner is mercifully almost over, but there was time on Friday for all three of them to get upset with each other.

Gwen Graham is only in elected office for a few more months, but she’s determined to stay vigilant (or at least in the news) with her calls for more public information regarding that Mosaic sinkhole incident.

Florida GOP calls ad attacking Dana Young a ‘smear piece,’ calls for Florida Dems to pull it

The Republican Party of Florida is taking umbrage with attacks on Majority Leader Dana Young, even calling for federal elections officials to step in.

Young faces Democrat Bob Buesing in the Senate District 18 election.

The district is seen as one of a few Democrats can pick up across the state, and Democrats and other outside groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking the Tampa Republican. In a recent ad, the state party tries to tie Young to Republican Donald Trump, and takes a swipe at her support of a bill to regulate hydraulic fracking.

“Dana Young still supports Donald Trump, but she’s not supporting us,” an announcer says in a 30-second spot paid for by the Democratic Party of Florida. “Dana Young, she’s too dangerous for Tampa.”

Blaise Ingoglia, the chairman of the Florida GOP, called the advertisement a “smear piece,” and said it “is disingenuous, unethical and potentially violates FEC campaign finance laws.” In a statement, he called on the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether the state party violated federal campaign finance law.

“They should know that you cannot use the likeness, or the name, of a federal candidate in an ad for a state candidate without adhering to federal campaign finance law,” said Ingoglia, who also serves as a state representative. “We call upon the FEC to investigate this potential huge violation and for the Florida Dems to pull the ad down or to fully comply with all federal campaign finance laws.  It’s truly sad that they have to resort to dirty politics instead of trying to win on the issues.”

Young currently leads Buesing in the district. According to the latest St. Pete Polls survey, 40 percent of voters in the district said they were backing Young, while 35 percent said they were backing Buesing.

Final round-up of the money chase in Tampa Bay’s legislative races

On Friday, candidates released their final campaign finance reports before Election Day, and reports out of Senate District 18 show Tampa Republican Rep. Dana Young pressing her fundraising advantage in the race with $1.2 million in spending.

Young spent more than $500,000 of campaign’s war chest in between Oct. 22 and Nov. 3, most of it heading to a media buy with Mentzer Media Services.

The exiting House Majority Leader also raised $67,000 for her SD 18 campaign, leaving her with about $113,000 on hand in her campaign account heading into the final few days of the election cycle.

Her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” spent even more money, with $700,000 heading to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by incoming Senate President Joe Negron. Young’s PAC had about $200,000 on hand Nov. 3.

Young is running against Democratic attorney Bob Buesing and a pair of NPA candidates for the Tampa-based seat, but none of her opponents have come close to competing in the money race.

Despite raising another $76,000 in contributions and putting another $35,000 of his own money into the race during the two-week reporting period, Buesing’s total fundraising is less than a quarter of what Young has been able to pull in through her campaign and committee accounts.

Buesing’s $111,000 performance was coupled with $119,000 in spending, mainly on media buys through Chicago-based AL Media. His campaign had about $53,000 in the bank heading into the final five days.

Joe Redner, the better funded of SD 18’s two NPA candidates, didn’t post any contributions during the period, though he did spend $35,000 on media. Fellow NPA candidate Sheldon Upthegrove also laid an egg in his report and showed a $100 account balance Nov. 3.

The other five Senate seats covering Hillsborough or Pinellas counties are pretty much decided, with Sens. Tom Lee, Bill Galvano and Jeff Brandes all winning re-election unopposed, and Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala only facing a write-in candidate.

The SD 19 race between Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson and Republican John “Mr. Manners” Houman is also looking like a runaway.

Rouson raised another $41,000 during the reporting period and spent $23,000, leaving him with about $85,000 in the bank for the final stretch. Houman, best known for his nontraditional campaign website, added $0 during the period and has about $60 in the bank.

In the House, Republican Reps. Jake Raburn, Janet Cruz, and Jamie Grant have secured victory, and Sean Shaw is already on the list for the freshman class. Also expect to see Chris Latvala, Chris Sprowls, and Larry Ahern hang on to their seats with little fanfare.

In HD 63, Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison brought in about $46,000 and was outraised by Democrat Lisa Monelione, who added $55,500 to her campaign coffers.

Harrison still has the cash on hand lead with about $38,000 in the bank compared to about $10,000 for Montelione, though a money lead may not be enough to keep him in the swing seat come Tuesday.

South Pasadena Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters is also facing a decently funded Democrat, Jennifer Webb, though she out-raised her 3-to-1 in her new report.

Peters added about $61,500 and spent about $100,500, mainly on a TV buy, leaving her with about $113,000 in the bank. Webb took in another $21,000 and spent about $19,000, leaving her with about $13,000 on hand.

Republican HD 59 Rep. Ross Spano also outraised his opponent, Democratic attorney Rena Frazier, with $26,600 in contributions compared to her $13,500 haul. Both candidates spent nearly $60,000 during the reporting period, and Nov. 3 Spano had about $66,000 in the bank compared to $31,000 for Frazier.

 In HD 60, Republican Jackie Toledo crossed the $300,000 mark in total fundraising after bringing in another $38,000. Toledo, who is running to replace Young, spent $55,600 and had about $73,000 in the bank Nov. 3.

Her opponent, Democrat David Singer, raised about $8,800 and spent $8,300 leaving him with just $5,000 in the bank for the final stretch. At $161,00, his total fundraising is about half of Toledo’s.

Joe Henderson: State Senate race was better when it was just about puppies

I just watched about the billionth TV ad for the Senate District 18 race with Dana Young and Bob Buesing. I thought the one she ran in the primary with all the adorable puppies couldn’t be topped, but she outdid herself this time.

This one features her two daughters defending their mom against all the nasty things the pro-Buesing forces supposedly have said.

That was sweet. I mean, who doesn’t love a tight-knit family? But something wasn’t adding up. Dana Young needs defending because someone was mean to her during a political campaign?

That’s when I remembered a 2010 campaign mailer from Young when she was running for the Florida House. She was pictured aiming an assault rifle while laying on top of the U.S. Constitution, along with a sticker showing her “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.

Yikes!

This has been way nastier than your average state senate race. With the way both candidates are going after it, you might forget that the job pays a whopping $29,697 per year.

A pro-environment group, Florida Conservation Voters, attacked Young recently for her ties to phosphate giant Mosaic.

“Rep. Dana Young’s environmental record is as dirty as her campaign contributions,” Jonathan Webber, Deputy Director of Florida Conservation Voters, said in a news release.

Also, Democratic committee ads have attacked Young as a supporter of fracking — which she strongly denies. She did vote for a bill that allowed a study on the impact of fracking, so there is that.

This race, which includes independent candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove, already was weird. Now it’s borderline ridiculous.

I guess we know why, though. This is a new district, created out of the Florida Fair Districts court fight. It is more moderate than the one Young represented as House Majority Leader (hence: puppies and daughters instead of assault rifles).

Democrats see it as a chance to cut into the Republican majority in the Senate, and they outnumber the GOP 37-35 in registered voters in the district covering most of Tampa and the western part of unincorporated Hillsborough.

Young led in a recent St. Pete Polls assessment 40-35 over Buesing, with 14 percent going to Redner.

A political action committee, Friends of Dana Young, has raised $1.3 million and has spent most of it. Additionally, Young has raised $1.67 million, while Buesing has raised less than half that.

Buesing has been attacked for his connection to a controversial courthouse project in 2007. He also has been accused of trying to close a senior living center, perhaps forcing grandma and grandpa to live on the streets.

In both cases, though, Buesing’s law firm was representing clients in the legal actions. While it makes a dark and stormy ad for evening TV, I don’t think Buesing wants to see your grandparents holding up a “please help” sign by an interstate off ramp. I must admit something, though. The first time I saw the courthouse ad, my immediate reaction was “what a jerk.”

About 1.2 seconds later, though, my reporter instincts kicked in and I went web surfing to find out the real story. Google is one of the worst things that ever happened to politicians trying to slip a fast one past voters.

That leaves us with this long-accepted political axiom: Nothing succeeds like puppies and family ties.

Democratic Progressive Caucus announces support for Bob Buesing over Joe Redner in SD 18 seat

With just days to go before the voting ends in the Hillsborough County state Senate District 18 race, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida is calling on Hillsborough progressives to back Democrat Bob Buesing over independent Joe Redner in the contest.

“While Joe Redner is a strong progressive candidate, I urge Hillsborough County progressives, including Joe, to join me in backing Bob Buesing for Florida Senate,” said Susan Smith, president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. “Bob has a proven track record of working on behalf of our community and is best positioned to defeat Dana Young — despite her millions of dollars’ worth of false, negative ads.”

The DPCF’s endorsement comes as there are increasing concerns among state Democrats that a vote for Redner will ultimately aid Young in her battle against Buesing for the newly created Senate seat.

Redner has run for office on numerous times, mostly as a Democrat. In that respect he may have greater name recognition than Buesing, the 63-year-old Trenam Kemker attorney making his first crack at electoral politics.

A St. Pete Polls survey released last week showed Young leading Buesing, 40 percent to 35 percent, with Redner getting 14 percent support.

On Friday, Redner and Buesing expressed outrage regarding the distribution of a pro-Redner mailer that criticized both Buesing and Young. The mailer did not come from Redner, however, but from a mysterious third-party group based in Tallahassee. Both Redner and Buesing said they believed that Young or Young’s friends with the Republican Party of Florida had something to do with the mailer, mainly designed to hurt Buesing.

Young said such a charge was outrageous, and said the last thing she would do would be to help any of her opponents, who have been unrelentingly critical of her during the campaign.

“Unlike Young, who cares more about her own self-interest than ours, Bob Buesing is committed to investing in our public schools, protecting our environment and expanding access to quality, affordable health care,” said the DPCF’s Smith. “Young’s allies have lobbed baseless attacks at Bob — including the suspicious mailer reported on yesterday — and will stop at nothing to buy her way back to Tallahassee. We must unite behind Bob’s campaign to send a true progressive ally to the State Senate!”

Anonymous mailer in SD 18 race gets everyone outraged

(UPDATED)

A political mailer being distributed in Florida’s 18th state Senate District has brought Dana Young and Joe Redner and Bob Buesing together — to criticize it.

For all intents and purposes, it looks like a mailer from the Redner campaign, referring to him as a “Bernie Sanders progressive” and criticizing Young as “just another Republican” and Democrat Bob Buesing as a “Rick Scott crony.”

However, it’s not paid for by Redner, but instead by a mysterious third-party group called Social Justice PAC, with an address listed on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. On its disclosure form, it lists one official, L. Mclnnis, as its chairperson. A phone call to the number listed for the group was not returned.

Redner, who has boasted throughout the campaign he is not bought and paid for by special interests, says he had nothing to do with the ad, and immediately blamed the Young campaign.

“She’s been smearing Bob with lies and innuendos this whole campaign,” he emailed on Thursday night. “This sleazy flier is just more of the same. You can bet it came from her, or she knows exactly who did it.”

Young emphatically denied having anything to do with the mailer, and said it was a desperate measure by Redner to even suggest she would. She added she was confident she would win the election on Tuesday, and would no longer have to deal with the negative attacks from her opponents

Buesing said he believes the mailer came from someone associated with the Republican Party of Florida.

“It’s clear to me that this comes from Dana Young supporters as an attempt to peel votes from me,” Buesing said when contacted later Friday.

The mailer says Buesing “cozied up” to Scott to get appointed to a state regulatory board. Last December, Scott selected six people to serve on the Child Care Executive Partnership, a public/private program to help employers meet the needs of working parents.

Buesing is a major advocate of early learning for children, and has made it a centerpiece of his campaign. He said the board meets quarterly, generally by conference call, and is designed to help businesses provide high quality childcare for their employees. He said he was never directly interviewed by Gov. Scott, and that the photograph of him next to Scott in the mailer was photoshopped.

“I’m proud of that service, and it’s pretty appalling that the Republican party operatives behind this piece would use this as some sort of crony of the governor vs. being a good citizen to help the state of Florida,” he said.

The mailer also says Buesing “has a history” of donating to the campaign of a right-wing conservative Republican running for the state Legislature. Buesing said most of his political contributions over the years have been for Democrats, but he says he’s definitely contributed to moderate Republicans in some races over the years, and says he has no idea who the mailer is referring to.

Buesing, Young, Redner, and independent Sheldon Upthegrove are on the ballot for the SD 18 seat, which encompasses South Tampa and much of the western part of Hillsborough.

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Money flow shows teamwork between former rivals Jack Latvala, Joe Negron

Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala and incoming Senate President Joe Negron buried the hatchet long ago and, according to the most recent numbers from Latvala’s political committee, the two are very much playing on the same team.

On Nov. 2, the Florida Leadership Committee, which served as Latvala’s war chest during the race for the Senate presidency, put $300,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by Negron.

FRSCC has not updated its financials to reflect that, though at that point it had raised more than $16.6 million and had nearly $10 million of that money on hand.

The committee’s numbers are sure to be monstrous when released, especially with Latvala and the committees of other top Senate Republicans putting their fundraising might behind it.

Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano’s committee shows an unofficial tally of $425,000 in transfers to the FRSCC since Oct. 28, while fellow future Senate President and Trilby Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson has also chipped in heavily in recent weeks. His committee, “Jobs for Florida,” shows $400,000 heading to FRSCC since Oct. 24.

The committee has a lot of state Senate candidates to support this cycle, with formerly safe Republican seats transformed into tight districts after Florida courts ordered that legislative maps be redrawn.

Among the top targets for both parties are the Senate District 8 contest between Republican Rep. Keith Perry and former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith; the SD 18 race between Republican Rep. Dana Young and Democratic attorney Bob Buesing; the battle between Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez in SD 37; and Republican Rep. Frank Artiles, race against Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in SD 40.

Galvano

Bill Galvano committee brings in over $360K in five days

Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano’s political committee pulled in more than $360,000 between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, giving the future Senate president plenty of ammo to help his fellow Republican senators win re-election.

“Innovate Florida” kicked off the three-day fundraising spree with a $100,000 check from Cuban-American billionaire Miguel Fernandez Oct. 31, followed by a $12,500 haul Nov. 1 and $160,500 Nov. 2.

The Nov. 2 report shows $25,000 apiece coming in from the Associated Industries of Florida’s political committees The Voice of Florida Business, Floridians’ United for Our Children, and Floridians for a Stronger Democracy.

Galvano’s PAC also collected a $50,000 check from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a committee run by AIF VP of Political Operations Ryan Tyson.

According to the report, Innovate Florida had more than $1.2 million on hand heading into the final stretch of the election season.

With Galvano having already secured re-election for himself in Senate District 21, most of the new funds will likely be used to help out in some of the more hotly contested Senate races this cycle.

Among the top targets for both parties are the SD 8 contest between Republican Rep. Keith Perry and former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith, the SD 18 race between Republican Rep. Dana Young and Democratic attorney Bob Buesing, the battle between Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez in SD 37, and Republican Rep. Frank Artiles run against Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in SD 40.

Despite the fundraising flurry, Innovate Florida did not report any spending over the three-day stretch, though the PAC has dumped $425,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee since the start of the 2016 election cycle.

That committee, which has only reported its financials through Aug. 25, has raised $16.6 million this cycle and had nearly $10 million of that money on hand.

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