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Joe Redner files to run as an independent in Senate District 18 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Adult club impresario and progressive activist Joe Redner is once again running for office, this time in the Senate District 18 race that features Republican Dana Young and Democrat Bob Buesing battling it out.

The iconoclastic Redner, who has been unsuccessful running for local and state offices for years, has previously run as a Democrat but in recent elections has filed as an independent.

He calls Young a “typical, no caring Republican,” and says that while he thinks Buesing is a nice man, he believes the left needs someone more confrontational to serve in Tallahassee.

“Confrontation brings notice, it makes people aware of what’s going on,” he said in a brief interview on Thursday. “Too many times you find your state senator voted for or against something and it’s way too late.”

Redner, who will turn 76 in a few weeks, says that he cares deeply about protecting the environment, specifically mentioning Lake Okeechobee and the St. John’s River, as well as expanding solar power in the Sunshine State.

He also says the underfunding of education and the issue of guns are big issues for him, but then again he says, “I think every time I open the paper I get a goddamned issue,” adding that “somebody needs to stop that whole friggin’ thing. Nobody will protest what’s going on up there,” he says.

Redner is best known for his nude club Mons Venus, which opened in Tampa in 1982. At one time he owned as many as four nude clubs, but Mons has been his only adult entertainment company for some time now.

His closest chance to electoral success came in 2007, when he battled Gwen Miller in a run-off election for a Tampa City Council seat.  Local observers thought he had a legitimate chance against Miller, but his offer to provide free admission to Mons Venus for those who voted early was considered an ill-timed decision.

Redner has been in remission from cancer since 2011.

SD 18 encompasses includes Avila, Carrollwood, Davis Islands, Lutz, MacDill Air Force Base, Odessa, South Tampa and Westchase.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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