Dana Young will debate Democrat Bob Buesing and the other two independent candidates running in the Florida state Senate District 18 at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club after all.
Hours after FloridaPolitics.com reported earlier Tuesday that Young could not attend the originally scheduled encounter on Sept. 16, The Tampa Tiger Bay Club and the Young campaign said all parties had come to an agreement to hold such a forum, now scheduled to take place Oct. 21.
“In the interest of fairness to all the candidates, the public and The Tiger Bay Club organization, we agreed at today’s Tiger Bay Board Meeting to move the date of the scheduled Tiger Bay luncheon for all the Florida Senate District 19 candidates from Sept. 16 to Oct. 21,” wrote Vic DiMaio, vice president and program chair for the Tampa Tiger Bay Club on Monday afternoon.
In addition to Young and Buesing, independent candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove are also on the ballot, and are expected to participate in the forum.
Young’s campaign said last Friday that the House District 60 incumbent would not be available to attend the original date of the forum, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 16. Young’s campaign manager Chris Spencer said today the candidate would be at Clemson University for Family Weekend, as her daughter has just started to attend the school this fall.
When FloridaPolitics asked Adam Bantner, president of the Tampa Tiger Bay Club, this weekend if there had been talk of rescheduling the forum, he said no, “but she never indicated that would be an option.”
Buesing is an attorney running for public office for the first time against the more seasoned Young. She has big-time name recognition after having served for the past six years as the state representative in House District 60, which shares similar geographic boundaries of the new Senate district (such as South Tampa, Westchase and Town N Country), and a formidable war chest. Young has over $963,000 in her political action committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” and over $659,000 in her regular campaign coffers. Buesing has raised over $210,000.
Redistricting has made the newly created Senate seat a swing district seat, one Barack Obama narrowly won in 2012, giving Buesing and the Democrats hope that they can take it this fall. “Frankly, there’s no reason why we can’t win this,” Buesing said last Friday. He says he intends to make an issue of Young’s conservative record in Tallahassee.
“I view myself as moderate and sensible, and view Dana Young as being out of step with the district, so that will be the message of the campaign,” he said Friday. “And I think that will resonate because as people hear the different positions, they’ll realize that she’s out of step.”
That’s what elections are for. And Tiger Bay forums, as well.