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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Young cancels appearance at Tampa forum as Democrats ask 'Where's Dana?'

Florida Democrats are using a "Where's Waldo" motif and distributing this image ahead of Friday's Tampa Tiger Bay Club lunch with state Senate candidates Republican Dana Young and Democrat Bob Buesing.

Florida Democratic Party

Florida Democrats are using a "Where's Waldo" motif and distributing this image ahead of Friday's Tampa Tiger Bay Club lunch with state Senate candidates Republican Dana Young and Democrat Bob Buesing.



Last week, Tampa Tiger Bay Club vice president Victor DiMaio told club members that their next lunch, this coming Friday, promised to be a “steel cage match.”

Well, apparently not.

On Monday, Republican Dana Young's campaign manager said she would not be there for what would have been the campaign's sole forum featuring all four candidates in Tampa's new state Senate District 18.

“Rep. Young notified Tiger Bay that due to the scheduling of the funeral of Louise Lykes Ferguson, she would be unable to participate in their event this Friday," Chris Spencer said in a statement released through the campaign. "Rep. Young is eager to debate the other candidates in the Senate race, and we are reaching out to media outlets to arrange for an alternative date for a televised debate between the candidates in this race, and she looks forward to having an opportunity to engage in a discussion with her opponents.”

"News to me," said DiMaio, who said he had given Spencer three dates to pick from about a month and a half ago, and Spencer previously had confirmed Young's appearance this Friday by phone, text and email. "Let's see what we can do and see how serious she is about actually debating."

Friday's Tiger Bay lunch had been scheduled to feature Young, the House Majority Leader, Democrat Bob Buesing and two candidates with no party affiliation — Air Force reservist Sheldon Upthegrove and Joe Redner, who’s been a political provocateur around Tampa almost as long as he’s owned a string of controversial nude dance clubs.

But on Monday, hours before Young's campaign said she wouldn't be there, the Florida Democratic Party said she hasn’t participated in other candidate events, so would she show up Friday? Hence, the photoshopped illustration you see above and the news release that follows:

Where’s Dana?

That’s the question the voters of State Senate District 18 are asking.

Was she at the Northdale Civic Association candidate forum? Nope.

Was she at the Keystone Civic Association Forum? Nowhere to be seen.

Was she at the League of Women Voters/Kiwanis Club District 18 candidate forum? Absent as well.

Was she at the forum at the Bible Based Fellowship of Temple Terrace on Saturday? Not there either.

So where has Dana been?

She’s been hiding her record from the people of District 18 behind TV ads and campaign mailers that PolitiFact has labeled “misleading.”

Why is Dana working so hard to hide her record?

Because Dana knows that her votes to allow fracking in Florida, to cut $1.3 billion from public education, and to allow power companies to tax working families for power plants that will never be built are indefensible.

“Career politician Dana Young has a strong track record of delivering for her real constituents: the wealthy special interests who control Tallahassee,” stated (Florida Democratic Party deputy director of communications) Anders Croy. “As House Majority Leader, Dana Young was a leading force in passing the bill to allow fracking in Florida and to give away hundreds of millions of dollars for water farming projects to a corporation after they gave her thousands in campaign donations. It’s time Dana Young stopped lying about her record through press releases and misleading mailers and came out of hiding to answer to the people of District 18.”

With only one debate, October 21st at the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa, scheduled before Election Day, the question is, will Dana show up?

"I'm only surprised she didn't cancel sooner," Redner said in an email. "If you believe she will show up at any debate, you must believe she voted against fracking and you know that's not true," adding a link to one of his commercials on the topic.

[Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2016 2:33pm]


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