Dana Young revs her fundraising engine; could she win a State Senate race?

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Rock star.

There, I got it out of the way.  I can’t write a post about Representative Dana Young without including the term “rock star”, so that’s out of the way.

Still, when an incumbent member of the Florida House raises nearly as much money as those members designated as the next Speakers of the House, as Dana Young has, the term “rock star” certainly applies.

Or if you have spent the first two years in office working on substantial legislation – for the Port of Tampa, on reclaimed water and against video voyeurism, among others – as Rep. Young has, the term “rock star” make sense.

Yet, being a rock star only gets you so far.  Even prodigious fundraising and a serious body of legislative work can’t overcome the limits of redistricting.

And so Rep. Dana Young, sitting on more than $230,000 cash-on-hand, is all but locked out of running for a State Senate seat, even though she is extraordinarily popular in Tallahassee and at home and would likely win a race for a seat drawn even marginally close to fair to her.

Currently, Rep. Young and her South Tampa legislative seat are drawn into a State Senate seat that stretches from Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa to the Gulf Beaches in Pinellas. The Tampa-portion of the State Senate seat comprises maybe 25% of the district.

No matter how much money Rep. Young’s campaign has, or however accomplished she is, it is all but impossible for a Tampa candidate to win in a mostly-Pinellas seat.

Locked out of her first choice, Young could’ve moved into the State Senate district currently occupied by Jim Norman, who is still vulnerable and hasn’t raised anywhere near the amount of campaign cash Young has.

But, no, Dana Young is a team player and that means you don’t challenge incumbent members of your own party. Nor should or would she upturn her life by moving just to run for the State Senate.

Perhaps the Supreme Court will do the right thing and redraw Tampa Bay’s State Senate districts so that the Pinellas seat no longer stretches into South Tampa. But since it was an earlier Supreme Court which helped draw the minority-majority State Senate seat which is responsible for distorting the rest of the region’s districts, it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will come to Young’s rescue.

So, it’s very likely, Dana Young will be stuck raising boatloads of money for her House campaign, which she will win handily. From there, she can go back to work passing smart legislation.

In other words, she’ll just have to be content with being a rock star.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to 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.