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Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

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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.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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