Rep. Bill Young raising big money for 2008

Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), who has toyed with the idea of retirement since Democrats took control of Congress, stepped up his fundraising in the second quarter and pulled together more than $200,000 for a possible run at a 20th term, his chief of staff said Thursday.

Young, the longest-serving Republican in the House, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday because he passed a fundraising threshold, staff chief Harry Glenn said.

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His quarterly take is not extraordinarily large — especially for a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. But it does indicate that Young is preparing for a battle in 2008 or might be trying to scare away possible Democratic candidates.

It is also significant because Young is on pace to raise more money than he ever has, and he is raising it earlier than he ever has. He brought in less than $650,000 in each of the last two election cycles and has not raised significant money in off years.

National Democrats have targeted the district in the belief that Young has not been tested in a long time. A strong challenge could also push the 76-year-old to retire and create an open seat in a district that is trending Democratic, they reason.

In his 37 years in the House, Young has never won with less than 57 percent of the vote. But his district was only narrowly carried by President Bush in 2004, 51-49.

Young told The Tampa Tribune in May that he was thinking about retiring “more than I did last year or the year before.”

He also said that his son, Billy, a recent college graduate, is interested in running for the seat. Young’s wife, who is in her early 50s, has also been rumored as a possible successor.

Young had more than $400,000 cash on hand after the first quarter.

 

Democrats mentioned as potential candidates include: state Sen. Charlie Justice, state Rep. Rick Kriseman, and former state legislator Lars Hafner.