• Tampa Democrat Janet Cruz, 62, is a four-term state House member and minority leader who operates an optician firm. She’s a fourth-generation resident of Tampa and Ybor City, is married to a physician and has four children.
  • Republican Dana Young of South Tampa, 54, is a lawyer in the field of regulated industries who has served three terms in the state House, including one as majority leader, and two years in the state Senate. She is married to an equity fund manager and has two children.
  • The District 18 senator is one of 40 state senators and represents an area including the northwest corner of Hillsborough County, Town ‘n’ Country, West Tampa and South Tampa.
  • Florida Democrats are looking to regain outright control of the state Senate for the first time since 1992. They currently hold 16 seats, so they’ll need to gain five seats to have a majority in the chamber.
  • Cruz is a strong advocate of public education funding and stricter controls on guns. She supports expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act and opposed the school safety legislation passed after the Parkland high school shooting because it included arming school personnel and included few firearms restrictions.
  • Young is a conservative Republican with a history of strong advocacy of gun rights and economic growth. She advocates lessening government regulations on businesses, charter schools and private school tuition vouchers, and has been a champion of the craft beer industry.

Click here to read the Tampa Bay Times voter guide, which will give you a breakdown of many of the 2018 races.

Follow @pguzzo for Election Day news on the SD 18 race.