Janet Cruz to kick off City Council campaign Dec. 13
Janet Cruz Image via Colin Hackley.

Cruz is expected to pose a formidable challenge to incumbent Lynn Hurtak.

Former Sen. Janet Cruz is officially launching her campaign for Tampa City Council with a kickoff party Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Ulele restaurant located at 1810 N. Highland Ave. near downtown Tampa along the Hillsborough River.

Cruz will be soliciting campaign contributions at the event, though no donation is required to attend.

Cruz, last month, lost her Senate re-election bid to Republican Jay Collins amid a red wave in Hillsborough County and throughout Florida. Shortly after, she announced she would run for City Council against appointed incumbent Lynn Hurtak in District 3.

Her race will likely draw significant attention in an otherwise sleepy off-year cycle. Cruz’s daughter, lobbyist Ana Cruz, is Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s long-time partner. That’s significant because the current City Council has fractured into what often appears to be two voting blocs, those who align with the Castor administration and those who don’t.

Hurtak is a member of the latter, pitting the race as a possible referendum on Castor’s popularity.

Any perceived negatives that may come from that, however, are likely to be overshadowed by Cruz’s ability to run a solid campaign. While Cruz fell to a Republican amid a red wave this year, she overperformed most Democrats in Hillsborough and throughout the state and has consistently shown a strong ability to raise a lot of cash.

With her strong political connections, she’s also likely to have an all-star cast of campaign consultants to prevent missteps or manage any that may arise.

In addition to Cruz and Hurtak, Gwendolyn Henderson has also filed for the race. All three are Democrats, though the race is nonpartisan.

None of the candidates have yet posted any financial reports, as all recently entered the race in November or late-October and won’t file campaign finance data for the first time until later this month.

Though Hurtak is the incumbent, this will be her first time on the ballot. She was appointed following former Council member John Dingfelder’s resignation amid a public records controversy.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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