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Hillsborough Progressives Reject Janet Cruz

October 13, 2018 - 6:00am
Bob Buesing, Janet Cruz and Susan Valdes
Bob Buesing, Janet Cruz and Susan Valdes

When the Democratic Progressive Caucus issued its endorsements this week, one prominent name was omitted: Janet Cruz.

Call it payback for the term-limited Cruz’s reprehensible power play last February when she muscled progressive Bob Buesing out of the race to challenge Republican State Sen. Dana Young.

The caucus has endorsed every other Democrat from Hillsborough County running for the Florida Legislature: Kathy Lewis, SD20; Phil Hornback, HD54; Adam Hattersly, HD 59; Debra Bellanti, HD 60, and Fentrice Driskell, HD63.

This most recent gut punch to the Cruz campaign culminates her fruitless quest to regain the trust of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. 

A prominent local progressive told Tampa Bay Beat, “I am looking for a good reason to vote for Cruz. I can’t find one.”

Cruz unsuccessfully attempted to mend fences with the progressives she shafted. A so-called “unity” event at a local bistro immediately after her coup drew 40 people, mostly Cruz’s friends and campaign entourage plus a couple of media representatives.

The anemic turnout was embarrassing. Buesing attended, but a notable absentee was his wife, Karen Buesing. 

Prior to Cruz’s heavy handedness, Bob Buesing had already raised an ample war chest and hit the campaign trail, salivating over a promising rematch. Progressives were ignited.

Not any more. They have decided not to reward treachery.

At the outset of the Young-Cruz race, it was considered by the Florida Democratic Party as a flippable seat. That possibility is now considered a long shot by most independent observers.

In addition to alienating an important faction of the Democratic party, the Cruz campaign has been haunted by the chasm between her actions and rhetoric.

Cruz says she is a friend of public education but she openly supported of Susan Valdes, a former school board member who championed charter schools.

Valdes, seeking to succeed Cruz in the House, vowed not to accept campaign contributions from charter school interests. After it was reported by Tampa Bay Beat that she reneged, Cruz rescinded her endorsement.

But Valdes’ sympathies were no secret. 

When she ran for re-election to the school board in 2016, she accepted contributions from charter school interests. 

Cruz told the press that the massacre of 17 students in Broward County motivated her State Senate run. But when comprehensive gun control legislation came before the Florida Legislature, Cruz voted against it.  

The National Rifle Association opposed the bill and parents of the murder victims lobbied for it. Dana Young voted for the gun bill which passed.

Jim Bleyer, a former reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Tribune, writes the Tampa Bay Beat blog.


I ready vote for Janet Cruz because she it's the Democrat Candidate. If Janet Cruz want to win this election with the Hispanic vote, she need to kick off of her campaign office 2 as***s who not understand how to win the vote of the Hispanic Non party voters. I was ready to campaign, but good luck with out my campaign support....

Another hit piece from this despicable partisan writer to we all know supports Dana Young but that's ok because the voters like me who mostly support Janet Cruz will shut your untruthful mouth on November 6, 2018 !

What goes around, comes around.

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A south tampa mom with children in my kids class sent this to me and I have to say-This is such a crock of shit. We do our research, we know Janet’s record supporting public education and WE ARE VOTING FOR JANET. We are all party affiliations and we are sick and tired of worthless electeds who are only in this for themselves. And Jim Blyer- who owns you? Because your posts aren’t worth the time I took to respond but I wanted to set the record straight.

Jim; you keep making the statement that Valdes accepted contributions from charter school interests this year. That simply is not correct as i have posted before here. We decided to send some mail to voters, uncoordinated with Valdes or her campaign, because she has been supportive of school choice options which included quality charter school as well as her support of parents and students to have access to the best education for their needs. Her opponent was very vocal on his opposition to the Step Up for Students program and charter schools. Many private schools in this working class district would close if her opponent had his way. Including St Joesph's, Villa Modona, and other schools. So in the future a better statement to make is, Cruz withdrew support for her long-time friend after a school choice group ( Florida Federation for Children) sent a mailer in support of Cruz. Our action was uncoordinated and is not consider a contribution. You have said many times she got a contribution- that is not true. Cruz's action, turning her back on her twenty-year-long friend, was unfathomable and a reflection on Cruz's lack of character. Valdes won her primary because the voters in the district know how hard she works for the community and the families and children that struggle everyday to get access to a good education, a good paying job, and keeping a roof over their heads.

Even after she was endorsed by Buffoon Bob Buckhorn? Shocking

Oh Jerry, the perennial Demofascist troll

Do you even know the definition of "fascist". I doubt it. If you did, you certainly wouldn't be a supporter of Trump and his Trumpnuts.

I see why Jim is a former reporter as way too biased to be one worth employing at a reputable paper...……. Thus now does a blog where such people go...………….. Likely a paid shill to write such articles...……... So who pays you Jim? .

Boy that will screw repubs, Young, by having such a moderate to vote for. ;^) ……... I'll be voting for Cruz as will the many new mid term women, other voters who are tired of the repub dog and pony show and pissed...…………….See you in November... ;^)

Cruz is more republican than Young based on some of those votes especially the anti-gun vote. I'll be voting for Cruz as well.

I vote on issues and a fiscal conservative...…………..Sadly repubs have abandoned those principles and now most, because the decent ones like Crist, other moderates were run out of the party or left because of the rule of the deplorables that are left disgusted them...…………….Fact is Dems are far more fiscally conservative cutting the massive deficits repubs have made over $21T now and doubling the Obama deficit in just 2 yrs...…………..And what for, a tax cut for the rich, corporations? …………….Personally I'd like to see open primaries and ranked voting so everyone doesn't only have the 2 parties to pick from...……………..This quickly would bring a moderate government that could get things done smartly...…………...And increase term limits to 18 yrs as now lobbyist control Florida.

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