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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

Dana Young trounces Janet Cruz in fundraising

State Sen. Dana Young has raised nearly $1 million for her re-election bid against Democrat Janet Cruz.

Not included in that figure is another $580,000 in in-kind contributions from the Florida Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Cruz, the outgoing House Democratic Leader, had $358,000 with $160,000 more in in-kind contributions. Her fundraising haul so far also includes $60,000 in carryover funds from her House campaign account.

That puts Young way out ahead in campaign cash in what is shaping up to be one of the state’s most competitive Senate races. Polls show the two battling it out within the margin of error, with Young holding a slight edge over Cruz.

Young’s campaign raised $56,000 from Oct. 6-12, with $41,000 of that coming through in-kind contributions. (They’re defined as “anything of value except money made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election.”)

Young brought in money from two notable local names: James Nozar, CEO of the Jeff Vinik-affiliated Strategic Property Partners that’s behind the $1 billion Water Street Tampa development, and Todd Hall, CEO of Tampa’s Talent Cloud Staffing.

Young’s political committee, Friends of Dana Young, has brought in $2 million to date with $16,000 coming in during the latest reporting period.

Those contributions came from Advancing Florida Agriculture, Health Network One and Hialeah Republican Rene Garcia’s People for Accountable Government political committee, as well as $1,000 from Rayonier Advanced Materials.

Cruz’s campaign raised $23,000 during the same period. Her committee, Building the Bay, has raised $682,000 to date with $58,000 rolling in during the latest reporting period.

Those contributions came from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which donated $25,000, and $10,000 each from Miami millionaire Christopher Findlater, the Initiative for Florida’s Future political committee and Fort Lauderdale attorney Kelley Uustal.

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Tampa financial investor Bob Gries contributed $2,000 and Tampa attorney Rosemary Armstrong kicked in $1,000.

Cruz’s committee spent more than $80,000 during the latest campaign finance period with most of that going back to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

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 Patch.com 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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