4 Republican women — 1 Latina — announce bid for Congress
The race is on in Florida’s 13th Congressional District!
November 13, 2021 7:50am
Updated: November 13, 2021 3:27pm
Four Republican women are running for Congress in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, hoping to flip the seat, and the House, in the next election.
Two are minorities; two were raised by single mothers in poor neighborhoods; two are small business owners.
The Congressional seat represents a district spanning from Pinellas to Clearwater to St. Petersburg and Largo. It became an open race after Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced he was running for governor. Crist was governor from 2007 to 2011.
The race is important, former President Donald Trump said, “because it is ‘key’ to taking back the House” for Republicans.
President Trump will be doing a fundraiser with me on December 7th :). More details to come. 🇺🇸https://t.co/eY6HUu5DiT— Anna Paulina Luna for Congress (@VoteAPL) November 9, 2021
Trump made the remark in his endorsement of one of the candidates, Anna Paulina Luna, a California native and U.S. Air Force veteran. Luna won the primary in 2020 but lost to Crist in the general election by 6 points.
Luna was raised by a single mother in one of Southern California's low-income neighborhoods. Having survived violence and crime, she says she hopes to reverse the “radical policies” that have hurt “tens of millions of poor and often minority Americans trapped in inner-city cycles of poverty and violence perpetuated by decades of failed big-government policies,” according to her campaign website.
She supports term limits, lowering taxes, and cutting regulations to create more jobs and boost the economy. Luna was the national director of Hispanic Engagement at Turning Point USA and leads several veteran-focused nonprofits with her husband, an Air Force veteran and Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient.
Attorney Amanda Makki, also a Republican candidate in the race, came to the U.S. as an infant with her parents when they escaped Iran after the 1979 revolution seeking religious freedom. She grew up in Maryland, where she went to college and later served as the Army General Counsel at the Pentagon in the Bush administration after 9/11.
She also served as senior health care advisor in the Senate and House working to stop the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. She argues that business owners and individuals should make their own health care choices, not the federal government. She also called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden for what she said was his failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Makki was an election attorney for the last six election cycles, and a Trump volunteer attorney in Wisconsin in the 2020 election. During the recount, she fought for mail-in ballots that were missing, required witness attestation, or signatures to not be counted in the recount.
New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC has named Makki as a “Woman to Watch.”
Republican nonprofit founder and small business owner Audrey Henson is also running. Raised by a single mom in Texas and St. Petersburg, she attended college in Florida with the assistance of a Pell Grant. Henson interned and worked in Congress, started a small construction business, and has won several awards including being recognized as a 30 under 30 leader by Forbes in 2019.
Her nonprofit, College to Congress, was created to provide “a more inclusive and effective Congress by empowering the next generation of public servants.” It’s helped 1,500 students secure full-time internships in Congress and “covers the true cost of an unpaid internship (amounting to about $10,000 per intern).” She also led efforts to secure $48 million in congressional appropriations for the House Paid Internship Program.
Growing up poor and “being forced to rely heavily on government welfare programs” inspired her to “take on big government and reform policies that are designed to help, but ultimately just reinforce cycles of poverty,” she said.
In early November, a fourth Republican woman announced she was running: Tampa businesswoman and civic leader, Christine Quinn. Quinn ran and lost twice to Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in Tampa’s District 14 congressional district.
A California native and small business owner, Quinn’s running on a platform focused on creating jobs, decreasing taxes and regulations, expanding educational opportunities, and lowering health care costs, among other issues.
Whoever wins the Republican primary next August will face off against whoever wins the Democratic primary, and against one Libertarian candidate.