Trump endorses Anna Paulina Luna in GOP primary for Pinellas House seat

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Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, calling her a “great fighter” who “puts America first.”

“This is an important race because it is ‘key’ to taking back the House,” Trump said in a message sent through his political action committee, the Save America PAC. “Anna is a warrior, she is a winner, and it’s time for all America First Republicans to unite behind her strong campaign.”

Luna is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and conservative media personality. Republicans nominated her for the same House seat in 2020, which she eventually lost to Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat. She had considerable backing from Trump’s orbit in that race as well, including from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Crist has opted not to seek re-election and is instead running for governor, leaving the Pinellas County-based district open. It’s one of the top targets by Republicans to turn red in their fight to flip the U.S. House during the 2022 mid-term elections.

The race has attracted a handful of candidates in both parties’ primaries. Also running are Republicans Amanda Makki, a former lobbyist in Washington, and Audrey Henson, the founder of a nonprofit that helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds secure congressional internships.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Ben Diamond, state Rep. Michele Rayner and national security analyst Eric Lynn have filed to run.

On Tuesday, Luna was in a hearing seeking a permanent stalking injunction against short-lived opponent William Braddock. Luna said she received information that Braddock had spoke about having access to hit squads and discussed “taking her out,” alongside two other Tampa Bay Republicans.

Times staff writer Romy Ellenbogen contributed to this report.

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