Equality Florida Action PAC, Florida’s largest pro-equality group, is backing Sen. Janet Cruz for re-election to Senate District 18.
“For over 12 years Janet Cruz has been a trusted ally and friend to our LGBTQ community,” Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders said in a statement. “She has fought alongside us to defend our adoption rights, push back on anti-trans attacks, and to push for progress in our state laws. Janet has shown up for us time and again, and in 2022 we’re showing up for her. This will be one of the most competitive races of 2022. We’re all in for Janet Cruz.”
While Cruz does not yet face a challenger, the tight 2018 race and redistricting means it will likely be a top target for future Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, the Naples Republican who will be quarterbacking the GOP’s Senate campaign efforts this cycle.
“Today’s endorsement is incredible,” Cruz said in a statement. “Equality Florida’s longtime friendship and partnership could not be more fitting. Tampa is a City founded on its diversity and welcoming nature and I could not be more proud to honor and support those values for my District up in Tallahassee. I stand committed to fighting for equality each and every day.”
Cruz narrowly flipped the Senate seat in 2018, beating former Republican Sen. Dana Young by 411 votes out of nearly 208,000 cast, a margin of just 0.2 percentage points. Young now heads the state’s tourism marketing arm, VISIT FLORIDA.
Current district borders give Cruz a slim advantage. According to book closing reports published ahead of the 2020 election, Democrats make up about 37% of the electorate compared to a 34% share for Republicans. Democrats have 11,459 more registered voters than Republicans.
The slim voter registration advantage will be tested in a midterm that’s certain to become a referendum on the Joe Biden administration, especially if the current tug-of-war over suburban voters stretches into 2022. All signs are it will.
Cruz most recently raised $10,179 in November, bringing her total raised to $114,638 for her 2022 campaign, according to the latest available finance reports. She also has $192,859 available in her affiliated political committee, Building the Bay.
Cruz has already earned endorsements from several prominent Democrats, including U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Val Demings, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and state Rep. Dianne Hart.