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Tampa Bay

Lindsay Cross, Jennifer Webb team up to raise campaign cash

Lindsay Cross and Jennifer Webb are raising campaign funds together Wednesday evening during in Indian Rocks Beach. The two Democrats are running for seats in the Florida Senate and House, respectively.

Cross is running against Incumbent Republican Jeff Brandes for the Senate District 24 race in St. Petersburg. Webb is running for the open House District 69 seat against Republican Ray BlacklidgeKathleen Peters is vacating the seat to run for Pinellas County Commission.

The fundraiser is important to both candidates. Cross is lagging behind Brandes in campaign funding by nearly $800,000. Brandes has raised $866,000. Cross has pulled in less than $90,000.

Webb had a commanding lead in campaign cash over her opponent up until this month. Blacklidge has now out-raised Webb by about $47,000. Webb does have more cash on hand though. She did not have to wage a primary battle. Blacklidge spent more than $70,000 during his primary campaign against Jeremy Bailie.

Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy and Belleair Beach City Council member Wanda Schwerer are hosting the fundraiser at the Beach Art Center in Indian Rocks Beach from 6-8 Wednesday.

A flyer announcing the event asks if voters love the state’s waters, beaches, bays, springs and rivers and then asks whether voters think “your Legislators in Tallahassee really care.”

“Come meet two candidates who DO,” the flyer reads. “And [who] will fight to protect them.”

Cross is an environmental scientist who formerly served as the executive director for the Florida Wildlife Corridor and spent 14 years working for the Tampa Bay Estuary. Protecting the environment is one of her top three priorities if elected.

Webb, a small business owner, earned her Masters degree from the University of South Florida where, after graduating, taught faculty members how to conduct research within the community.

Webb also lists protecting Florida’s drinking water and waterways as a top priority, according to her campaign website.

Webb leads Blacklidge 48 to 33 percent, according to an SEA Polling and Strategic Design survey released Tuesday. Brandes leads Cross 38 to 19 percent, according to a St. Pete Polls survey last month.

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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