Dana Young Archives - Page 7 of 27 - SaintPetersBlog

Florida GOP calls ad attacking Dana Young a ‘smear piece,’ calls for Florida Dems to pull it

The Republican Party of Florida is taking umbrage with attacks on Majority Leader Dana Young, even calling for federal elections officials to step in.

Young faces Democrat Bob Buesing in the Senate District 18 election.

The district is seen as one of a few Democrats can pick up across the state, and Democrats and other outside groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking the Tampa Republican. In a recent ad, the state party tries to tie Young to Republican Donald Trump, and takes a swipe at her support of a bill to regulate hydraulic fracking.

“Dana Young still supports Donald Trump, but she’s not supporting us,” an announcer says in a 30-second spot paid for by the Democratic Party of Florida. “Dana Young, she’s too dangerous for Tampa.”

Blaise Ingoglia, the chairman of the Florida GOP, called the advertisement a “smear piece,” and said it “is disingenuous, unethical and potentially violates FEC campaign finance laws.” In a statement, he called on the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether the state party violated federal campaign finance law.

“They should know that you cannot use the likeness, or the name, of a federal candidate in an ad for a state candidate without adhering to federal campaign finance law,” said Ingoglia, who also serves as a state representative. “We call upon the FEC to investigate this potential huge violation and for the Florida Dems to pull the ad down or to fully comply with all federal campaign finance laws.  It’s truly sad that they have to resort to dirty politics instead of trying to win on the issues.”

Young currently leads Buesing in the district. According to the latest St. Pete Polls survey, 40 percent of voters in the district said they were backing Young, while 35 percent said they were backing Buesing.

Final round-up of the money chase in Tampa Bay’s legislative races

On Friday, candidates released their final campaign finance reports before Election Day, and reports out of Senate District 18 show Tampa Republican Rep. Dana Young pressing her fundraising advantage in the race with $1.2 million in spending.

Young spent more than $500,000 of campaign’s war chest in between Oct. 22 and Nov. 3, most of it heading to a media buy with Mentzer Media Services.

The exiting House Majority Leader also raised $67,000 for her SD 18 campaign, leaving her with about $113,000 on hand in her campaign account heading into the final few days of the election cycle.

Her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” spent even more money, with $700,000 heading to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by incoming Senate President Joe Negron. Young’s PAC had about $200,000 on hand Nov. 3.

Young is running against Democratic attorney Bob Buesing and a pair of NPA candidates for the Tampa-based seat, but none of her opponents have come close to competing in the money race.

Despite raising another $76,000 in contributions and putting another $35,000 of his own money into the race during the two-week reporting period, Buesing’s total fundraising is less than a quarter of what Young has been able to pull in through her campaign and committee accounts.

Buesing’s $111,000 performance was coupled with $119,000 in spending, mainly on media buys through Chicago-based AL Media. His campaign had about $53,000 in the bank heading into the final five days.

Joe Redner, the better funded of SD 18’s two NPA candidates, didn’t post any contributions during the period, though he did spend $35,000 on media. Fellow NPA candidate Sheldon Upthegrove also laid an egg in his report and showed a $100 account balance Nov. 3.

The other five Senate seats covering Hillsborough or Pinellas counties are pretty much decided, with Sens. Tom Lee, Bill Galvano and Jeff Brandes all winning re-election unopposed, and Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala only facing a write-in candidate.

The SD 19 race between Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson and Republican John “Mr. Manners” Houman is also looking like a runaway.

Rouson raised another $41,000 during the reporting period and spent $23,000, leaving him with about $85,000 in the bank for the final stretch. Houman, best known for his nontraditional campaign website, added $0 during the period and has about $60 in the bank.

In the House, Republican Reps. Jake Raburn, Janet Cruz, and Jamie Grant have secured victory, and Sean Shaw is already on the list for the freshman class. Also expect to see Chris Latvala, Chris Sprowls, and Larry Ahern hang on to their seats with little fanfare.

In HD 63, Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison brought in about $46,000 and was outraised by Democrat Lisa Monelione, who added $55,500 to her campaign coffers.

Harrison still has the cash on hand lead with about $38,000 in the bank compared to about $10,000 for Montelione, though a money lead may not be enough to keep him in the swing seat come Tuesday.

South Pasadena Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters is also facing a decently funded Democrat, Jennifer Webb, though she out-raised her 3-to-1 in her new report.

Peters added about $61,500 and spent about $100,500, mainly on a TV buy, leaving her with about $113,000 in the bank. Webb took in another $21,000 and spent about $19,000, leaving her with about $13,000 on hand.

Republican HD 59 Rep. Ross Spano also outraised his opponent, Democratic attorney Rena Frazier, with $26,600 in contributions compared to her $13,500 haul. Both candidates spent nearly $60,000 during the reporting period, and Nov. 3 Spano had about $66,000 in the bank compared to $31,000 for Frazier.

 In HD 60, Republican Jackie Toledo crossed the $300,000 mark in total fundraising after bringing in another $38,000. Toledo, who is running to replace Young, spent $55,600 and had about $73,000 in the bank Nov. 3.

Her opponent, Democrat David Singer, raised about $8,800 and spent $8,300 leaving him with just $5,000 in the bank for the final stretch. At $161,00, his total fundraising is about half of Toledo’s.

Joe Henderson: State Senate race was better when it was just about puppies

I just watched about the billionth TV ad for the Senate District 18 race with Dana Young and Bob Buesing. I thought the one she ran in the primary with all the adorable puppies couldn’t be topped, but she outdid herself this time.

This one features her two daughters defending their mom against all the nasty things the pro-Buesing forces supposedly have said.

That was sweet. I mean, who doesn’t love a tight-knit family? But something wasn’t adding up. Dana Young needs defending because someone was mean to her during a political campaign?

That’s when I remembered a 2010 campaign mailer from Young when she was running for the Florida House. She was pictured aiming an assault rifle while laying on top of the U.S. Constitution, along with a sticker showing her “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.


This has been way nastier than your average state senate race. With the way both candidates are going after it, you might forget that the job pays a whopping $29,697 per year.

A pro-environment group, Florida Conservation Voters, attacked Young recently for her ties to phosphate giant Mosaic.

“Rep. Dana Young’s environmental record is as dirty as her campaign contributions,” Jonathan Webber, Deputy Director of Florida Conservation Voters, said in a news release.

Also, Democratic committee ads have attacked Young as a supporter of fracking — which she strongly denies. She did vote for a bill that allowed a study on the impact of fracking, so there is that.

This race, which includes independent candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove, already was weird. Now it’s borderline ridiculous.

I guess we know why, though. This is a new district, created out of the Florida Fair Districts court fight. It is more moderate than the one Young represented as House Majority Leader (hence: puppies and daughters instead of assault rifles).

Democrats see it as a chance to cut into the Republican majority in the Senate, and they outnumber the GOP 37-35 in registered voters in the district covering most of Tampa and the western part of unincorporated Hillsborough.

Young led in a recent St. Pete Polls assessment 40-35 over Buesing, with 14 percent going to Redner.

A political action committee, Friends of Dana Young, has raised $1.3 million and has spent most of it. Additionally, Young has raised $1.67 million, while Buesing has raised less than half that.

Buesing has been attacked for his connection to a controversial courthouse project in 2007. He also has been accused of trying to close a senior living center, perhaps forcing grandma and grandpa to live on the streets.

In both cases, though, Buesing’s law firm was representing clients in the legal actions. While it makes a dark and stormy ad for evening TV, I don’t think Buesing wants to see your grandparents holding up a “please help” sign by an interstate off ramp. I must admit something, though. The first time I saw the courthouse ad, my immediate reaction was “what a jerk.”

About 1.2 seconds later, though, my reporter instincts kicked in and I went web surfing to find out the real story. Google is one of the worst things that ever happened to politicians trying to slip a fast one past voters.

That leaves us with this long-accepted political axiom: Nothing succeeds like puppies and family ties.

Democratic Progressive Caucus announces support for Bob Buesing over Joe Redner in SD 18 seat

With just days to go before the voting ends in the Hillsborough County state Senate District 18 race, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida is calling on Hillsborough progressives to back Democrat Bob Buesing over independent Joe Redner in the contest.

“While Joe Redner is a strong progressive candidate, I urge Hillsborough County progressives, including Joe, to join me in backing Bob Buesing for Florida Senate,” said Susan Smith, president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. “Bob has a proven track record of working on behalf of our community and is best positioned to defeat Dana Young — despite her millions of dollars’ worth of false, negative ads.”

The DPCF’s endorsement comes as there are increasing concerns among state Democrats that a vote for Redner will ultimately aid Young in her battle against Buesing for the newly created Senate seat.

Redner has run for office on numerous times, mostly as a Democrat. In that respect he may have greater name recognition than Buesing, the 63-year-old Trenam Kemker attorney making his first crack at electoral politics.

A St. Pete Polls survey released last week showed Young leading Buesing, 40 percent to 35 percent, with Redner getting 14 percent support.

On Friday, Redner and Buesing expressed outrage regarding the distribution of a pro-Redner mailer that criticized both Buesing and Young. The mailer did not come from Redner, however, but from a mysterious third-party group based in Tallahassee. Both Redner and Buesing said they believed that Young or Young’s friends with the Republican Party of Florida had something to do with the mailer, mainly designed to hurt Buesing.

Young said such a charge was outrageous, and said the last thing she would do would be to help any of her opponents, who have been unrelentingly critical of her during the campaign.

“Unlike Young, who cares more about her own self-interest than ours, Bob Buesing is committed to investing in our public schools, protecting our environment and expanding access to quality, affordable health care,” said the DPCF’s Smith. “Young’s allies have lobbed baseless attacks at Bob — including the suspicious mailer reported on yesterday — and will stop at nothing to buy her way back to Tallahassee. We must unite behind Bob’s campaign to send a true progressive ally to the State Senate!”

Anonymous mailer in SD 18 race gets everyone outraged


A political mailer being distributed in Florida’s 18th state Senate District has brought Dana Young and Joe Redner and Bob Buesing together — to criticize it.

For all intents and purposes, it looks like a mailer from the Redner campaign, referring to him as a “Bernie Sanders progressive” and criticizing Young as “just another Republican” and Democrat Bob Buesing as a “Rick Scott crony.”

However, it’s not paid for by Redner, but instead by a mysterious third-party group called Social Justice PAC, with an address listed on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. On its disclosure form, it lists one official, L. Mclnnis, as its chairperson. A phone call to the number listed for the group was not returned.

Redner, who has boasted throughout the campaign he is not bought and paid for by special interests, says he had nothing to do with the ad, and immediately blamed the Young campaign.

“She’s been smearing Bob with lies and innuendos this whole campaign,” he emailed on Thursday night. “This sleazy flier is just more of the same. You can bet it came from her, or she knows exactly who did it.”

Young emphatically denied having anything to do with the mailer, and said it was a desperate measure by Redner to even suggest she would. She added she was confident she would win the election on Tuesday, and would no longer have to deal with the negative attacks from her opponents

Buesing said he believes the mailer came from someone associated with the Republican Party of Florida.

“It’s clear to me that this comes from Dana Young supporters as an attempt to peel votes from me,” Buesing said when contacted later Friday.

The mailer says Buesing “cozied up” to Scott to get appointed to a state regulatory board. Last December, Scott selected six people to serve on the Child Care Executive Partnership, a public/private program to help employers meet the needs of working parents.

Buesing is a major advocate of early learning for children, and has made it a centerpiece of his campaign. He said the board meets quarterly, generally by conference call, and is designed to help businesses provide high quality childcare for their employees. He said he was never directly interviewed by Gov. Scott, and that the photograph of him next to Scott in the mailer was photoshopped.

“I’m proud of that service, and it’s pretty appalling that the Republican party operatives behind this piece would use this as some sort of crony of the governor vs. being a good citizen to help the state of Florida,” he said.

The mailer also says Buesing “has a history” of donating to the campaign of a right-wing conservative Republican running for the state Legislature. Buesing said most of his political contributions over the years have been for Democrats, but he says he’s definitely contributed to moderate Republicans in some races over the years, and says he has no idea who the mailer is referring to.

Buesing, Young, Redner, and independent Sheldon Upthegrove are on the ballot for the SD 18 seat, which encompasses South Tampa and much of the western part of Hillsborough.


Money flow shows teamwork between former rivals Jack Latvala, Joe Negron

Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala and incoming Senate President Joe Negron buried the hatchet long ago and, according to the most recent numbers from Latvala’s political committee, the two are very much playing on the same team.

On Nov. 2, the Florida Leadership Committee, which served as Latvala’s war chest during the race for the Senate presidency, put $300,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by Negron.

FRSCC has not updated its financials to reflect that, though at that point it had raised more than $16.6 million and had nearly $10 million of that money on hand.

The committee’s numbers are sure to be monstrous when released, especially with Latvala and the committees of other top Senate Republicans putting their fundraising might behind it.

Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano’s committee shows an unofficial tally of $425,000 in transfers to the FRSCC since Oct. 28, while fellow future Senate President and Trilby Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson has also chipped in heavily in recent weeks. His committee, “Jobs for Florida,” shows $400,000 heading to FRSCC since Oct. 24.

The committee has a lot of state Senate candidates to support this cycle, with formerly safe Republican seats transformed into tight districts after Florida courts ordered that legislative maps be redrawn.

Among the top targets for both parties are the Senate District 8 contest between Republican Rep. Keith Perry and former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith; the SD 18 race between Republican Rep. Dana Young and Democratic attorney Bob Buesing; the battle between Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez in SD 37; and Republican Rep. Frank Artiles, race against Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in SD 40.

Bill Galvano committee brings in over $360K in five days

Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano’s political committee pulled in more than $360,000 between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, giving the future Senate president plenty of ammo to help his fellow Republican senators win re-election.

“Innovate Florida” kicked off the three-day fundraising spree with a $100,000 check from Cuban-American billionaire Miguel Fernandez Oct. 31, followed by a $12,500 haul Nov. 1 and $160,500 Nov. 2.

The Nov. 2 report shows $25,000 apiece coming in from the Associated Industries of Florida’s political committees The Voice of Florida Business, Floridians’ United for Our Children, and Floridians for a Stronger Democracy.

Galvano’s PAC also collected a $50,000 check from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a committee run by AIF VP of Political Operations Ryan Tyson.

According to the report, Innovate Florida had more than $1.2 million on hand heading into the final stretch of the election season.

With Galvano having already secured re-election for himself in Senate District 21, most of the new funds will likely be used to help out in some of the more hotly contested Senate races this cycle.

Among the top targets for both parties are the SD 8 contest between Republican Rep. Keith Perry and former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith, the SD 18 race between Republican Rep. Dana Young and Democratic attorney Bob Buesing, the battle between Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez in SD 37, and Republican Rep. Frank Artiles run against Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in SD 40.

Despite the fundraising flurry, Innovate Florida did not report any spending over the three-day stretch, though the PAC has dumped $425,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee since the start of the 2016 election cycle.

That committee, which has only reported its financials through Aug. 25, has raised $16.6 million this cycle and had nearly $10 million of that money on hand.

Final poll of key state Senate race shows Dana Young holding lead over Democratic opponent

Majority Leader Dana Young has maintained her lead in Senate District 18, but needs to continue mobilizing supporters to make sure she comes out on top on Election Day.

A new poll by St. Pete Polls, conducted for FloridaPolitics.com, showed 40 percent of Senate District 18 voters are backing Young, compared to 35 percent backing Democrat Bob Buesing. The poll found 14 percent of voters said they were supporting Joe Redner, while 3 percent picked Sheldon Upthegrove. Eight percent of voters said they were undecided.

The automated poll of 1,087 people was conducted Nov. 2. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.

The poll showed Young had support from 36 percent of independent voters, 65 percent of Republicans, and 17 percent of Democrats. Buesing was backed by 33 percent of independent voters, 52 percent of Democrats, and 19 percent of Republicans.

The new poll is in line with two St. Pete Polls conducted in October. A poll conducted Oct. 25 showed Young led Buesing, 39 percent to 34 percent. In an Oct. 11 poll, Young received the support from 38 percent of voters, while 32 percent said they were backing Buesing.

While Young is maintaining her overall lead, the latest St. Pete Polls survey indicates her supporters need to turn out to make sure she comes out on top come Election Day.

The poll found 60 percent of respondents said they already voted. Nearly 39 percent those respondents backed Young, while 38 percent supported Buesing.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.3.16 – Guns, pot and minimum wage measures to be voted on next week across the country

In Florida, we have two constitutional amendments on the ballot that will be decided next Tuesday.

The way it looks now, it would be a major upset if Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative, fails to get 60 percent of the electorate’s vote. Then again, conventional wisdom was that it would pass in 2014, and it came up a few points short.

There’s also Amendment 1, the solar power amendment, where the momentum seems to be going against it at the moment. Yesterday, two groups critical of the measure went to the Florida Supreme Court, calling on them to reject the results of the vote next week because they contend the measure was created to intentionally deceive Florida voters.

Nationally, there are plenty of ballot measures to watch next Tuesday. No fewer than five states are voting on legalizing marijuana outright, with everyone looking to see if California will lead the way there. I was in the Golden State immediately after the 2010 election, when people couldn’t believe a similar measure went down to defeat. Methinks that won’t be the case this time around.

Four states — Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Maine — are voting to increase their minimum wage. Washington would raise it the highest, to $13.50 by 2020. South Dakota would DECREASE the wage for workers under 18 from $8.55 to $7.50.

And four states will vote on gun restriction laws: Maine, Washington, California, and Nevada.

As usual, California leads the way in the number of total ballot measures, with 17 different ones on the ballot. You can read about them all here. The most significant one might be the measure that would repeal the death penalty, though polls show that may not pass. There’s also the measure requiring actors in pornographic films to wear condoms.

In other news …

All four candidates in Florida’s state Senate District 18 race competed in a debate at the University of Tampa — where Bob Buesing, Joe Redner, and Sheldon Upthegrove took turns blasting Dana Young’s voting record.

Take it for what it is, but a poll released on Tuesday night of people who had already voted in Florida says 28 percent of Republicans have voted for Hillary Clinton in Florida.

The Hillsborough County Commission has green-lighted $1 million for marketing the NCAA College Football Championship game, to be held in Tampa next January.

Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Ione Townsend filed a complaint with the state’s Election Commission on Wednesday regarding that $1,000 contribution to Tampa City Council District 7 candidate Jim Davison from the local GOP. Davison later said he has since returned the money.

Dana Young’s voting record blasted by her SD 18 opponents in debate

Debating for the first time in the state Senate District 18 race, South Tampa Republican Dana Young had her voting record pummeled by her three more-liberal male opponents at the Reeves Theatre on the University of Tampa campus Wednesday.

Young has maintained a fairly conservative record in her six years representing House District 60, a record her Democratic first-time opponent, Bob Buseing, has said is out of the mainstream of the voters in SD 18 which, like HD 60, encompasses South Tampa and much of western Hillsborough County.

Young has moved up in House leadership during her tenure, and is currently majority leader. She’s also raised more than a combined $2.3 million in the race, between her own campaign and her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young.” With just six days before the voting stops, her appearance on Wednesday was the first time she has met her opponents for a debate. And they were ready to attack her from the get-go.

“Dana Young wants to hide her record as a career politician,” said independent candidate Joe Redner in kicking off the forum, indicating what was in store for her and the audience for the next hour-plus. “She wants to hide that she takes millions of dollars from every special interest pulling the strings.”

Buesing followed suit, offering an aggressive take on Young’s stance on virtually every issue raised by the UT students in the audience. Seconds into his opening statement, he announced he was opposed to fracking, and immediately criticized Young for voting for the measure in this past session.

Young’s record on fracking has been seized upon by her opponents and environmental groups this election cycle. She has insisted that her support for Florida HB 191 the past winter was NOT a pro-fracking vote, a stance she maintained throughout the debate.

Critics have claimed she voted against allowing local governments have their autonomy on whether they want to ban fracking, but Young said she believed a statewide ban was the only legitimate way to handle the issue, because “our aquifer does not know county lines.”

“I’m not worried about the counties that pass bans on fracking, I’m worried about the counties that don’t,” she said.

That answer failed to mollify Redner, who has placed television ads criticizing Young on the environment. He said her fracking vote was done in a “slick way that career politicians do,” his voice dripping with disdain. And both he and Buesing referred to a complaint made by environmental groups that while the bill would have required fracking companies to disclose to the state all chemicals they used, but if the formulas were considered trade secrets, they wouldn’t have been available to the public.

“It seems like we’re all trying to out-hate fracking [more] than the next guy,” Young countered, saying that the other candidates had not studied the bill.

On guns, Buesing said he opposed a bill that failed to advance in the Florida Senate last session that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons on college campuses.

Young took the offensive when it was her turn, citing statistics that one out of four women in college will be the victim of sexual assault. “I support the right of myself and other women to stand up and protect ourselves against men who would seek to do us harm.”

Buesing responded by saying the college campus which Young’s daughter attends, Clemson, does not allow guns on campus. “If she thought the only safe place was a place where there are guns on campus, why is she sending her daughter to Clemson University?”

Sheldon Upthegrove, the fourth candidate in the race, brought his perspective as a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict to the discussion. He said he supported concealed guns on college campuses, but only after a citizen passed a marksmanship test. But he disagreed with Young regarding feeling safe by carrying a gun, saying self-defense classes should be considered first before using a firearm.

“It’s insanity. Guns kill,” snarled Redner when it was his turn. He said citizens should be able to maintain firearms at home, but not out on the streets.

On the issue of medical marijuana, all four candidates said they support Amendment 2 on next week’s ballot that would legalize the substance for those with certain treatable diseases, and two of them, Redner and Upthegrove, support outright legalization. Redner again talked poignantly of how the herb helped him when he was receiving from Stage 4 lung cancer, and Young said her husband was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and had to contend with chemotherapy and radiation,  but did not use pot to alleviate his pain. “I believe anyone in that situation should be able to make a choice with what they wish to do with their body,” she said.

When asked about reforming Florida’s campaign finance laws, Buesing said, “I hate it,” saying that with outside groups, he has been outspent on a three-to-one ratio.

“There is too much money coming from dark money groups, like the ones that are supporting Mr. Buesing,” Young said, eliciting shrieks from the audience. Young called out the group Florida Strong, who this week alleged Young’s votes helped to pad her personal fortunes since her time in elected office. “They don’t have to disclose their donors, where my donors are all disclosed for the world to see.”

Those comments set off her opponents.

“So how much have you collected, Dana, $3 million from those upstanding donors?” asked Redner sarcastically, adding that, if elected, he’d work to pass the toughest campaign finance laws the state has ever seen.

“I find it funny that Dana says there’s too much money in politics, which in this race, she has more money than … at least a couple of us,” Upthegrove said, who said he thought there was too much money in politics.

In his concluding statement, Buesing read from various Tampa Bay Times editorials and opinion columns that have criticized Young and the third-party groups for some of their statements on Buesing’s background as an attorney with Trenam Kemker.

Afterwards, Young said the encounter was “interesting,” adding “that’s politics.”

Buesing said “I win this hands down, if it’s about the issues.”

Election Day is now just five days away.

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