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The Dana Young/Janet Cruz Senate race holds the record for being the most expensive Florida legislative race ever (beating the old record by about $1 million).

Tampa Bay

In Tampa, Dana Young crushing Janet Cruz in money race

Incumbent Dana Young continues to crush challenger Janet Cruz in fundraising.

Information from the Division of Elections shows Young, the Republican now representing for Tampa’s Senate District 18 has nearly $500,000 cash on hand. Cruz has less than $50,000.

The disparity stems from another huge gap in overall fundraising.

To date, Young has raked in $718,000 from local, state and outside donors. Cruz has raised $279,000.

Cruz came close to Young in fundraising during the latest reporting period, Sept. 1-14. Cruz brought in just under $37,000 while Young raised nearly $43,000.

She’s challenging Young in one of the most contentious and important races in the state.

Susan McManus, a retired political scientist from the University of South Florida and frequent political commentator, called the state Senate race one of the top five most important in the nation.

Young is seeking her second term in the Senate after serving in the House. Cruz is the outgoing House Democratic Leader and is term-limited. 

The two present staunchly different views on gun control, education and the environment.

Cruz voted against the school safety bill that provided additional funding for school security and increased the legal age of firearm purchases from 18 to 21 because the bill did not include a ban on assault weapons. Young voted in favor of the bill. It also included a provision that allows properly trained teachers to carry guns in school.

Cruz is hoping to ride the so-called “blue wave” to unseat Young. While Cruz is underperforming in fundraising efforts, she says her campaign is in full swing on the ground knocking on doors and attending events.

Cruz has been involved with the Andrew Gillum campaign for Governor, attending local events and supporting increased education funding and higher teacher wages.

Last week Cruz spoke at a press conference in front of Plant High School calling attention to the lack of maintenance funds available. That school has issues with mold and has to have clean air pumped into the building through tubes. 

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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