Anna Paulina Luna, the 31-year-old Air Force veteran who defeated four other Republicans in the primary race in Florida’s 13th Congressional District last month, held a “Coalition Kick-off“ campaign event before a crowd of approximately 50 military veterans and supporters in Largo on Wednesday.
The Southern California native faces Democratic incumbent Charlie Crist in November, and she has her work cut out for her. A St. Pete Polls survey released at the end of August shows Crist with a formidable, 16-point lead over the Republican.
What You Need To Know
- Anna Paulina Luna is a U.S. Air Force veteran running against Rep. Charlie Crist.
- She's a Republican who beat out four others in the primary.
- Florida's 13th Congressional District favors Joe Biden over President Trump.
Luna ran and won in the CD 13 GOP primary on a fairly conservative platform, so the question now is how she can transition to be competitive in a district that also favors Joe Biden over Donald Trump for president (by 13 points, according to that same St. Pete Polls survey). She responds by saying that she’s keeping it local and focusing on issues that “everyone can get behind.”
“People in Washington D.C. aren’t voting for me. It’s the people here,” she said. “So, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a huge amount of support. Not just from veterans, but from people that care about the environment.”
She also says that voters who want to end government corruption and have a “huge problem with the establishment agenda” can find common cause with her campaign.
The biggest issue going on in Congress currently is whether the Democratic-led House can come to an agreement with the Republican controlled Senate on a coronavirus relief bill before lawmakers go back home to their districts to campaign for reelection.
Luna isn’t optimistic that’s going to happen anytime soon.
“Realistically, I don’t think they’re going to be able to pass another bill before the election,” she says. “There’s so much happening, not just politically, but I think socially in this country right now.”
The last coronavirus relief legislation signed into law by President Trump was in April – the fourth passed by Congress this year at a total cost approaching $3 trillion. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion “Heroes” bill in May, but it was never approved by the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate.
Although POLITICO reported there is tension between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some members of the centrist New Democrat Coalition about the urgency of compromising with Republicans on a coronavirus bill, Crist – a member of the New Democrat Coalition – is standing behind his Democratic leader.
“I firmly believe that Congress should set party aside and work together to deliver for the American people,” Crist told Spectrum Bay News 9 in a statement, “124 days ago, the People’s House sent The Heroes Act to Senator McConnell. It restores the $600 per week unemployment assistance, cuts another stimulus check, and provides $900 billion so state and local governments don’t have to lay off firefighters, cut services, or raise taxes.”
President Trump told Republican lawmakers in a tweet this morning that they should “go for the much higher numbers” in coronavirus legislative discussions. That tweet was noted by the St. Petersburg Representative.
“The Senate has done nothing,” Crist said in his statement. “Even the President is calling on Republicans in Congress to move forward with the higher number. People are hurting, and they need our help ASAP. Do the right thing!”
On a completely different front, Luna is annoyed with Twitter.
The social media platform has yet to verify her Twitter account, despite the fact that she is now the official Republican Party nominee for Florida’s 13thCongressional District. Users who are verified receive a blue check mark on their profiles and receive better visibility on their Twitter accounts. Luna says this has become a “huge problem,” with fake accounts being set up in her name. That’s despite the fact that she has more than 195,000 followers.
She also says it’s a form of “political prejudice,” a refrain other Republicans have made about Twitter and Facebook for years. However, this particular problem appears to be bipartisan in nature, or at least it was earlier this year.
The Hill reported back in February that nearly 90 primary candidates in five states (not including Florida) had not their Twitter accounts verified. Fifty-five of those candidates were Republicans, and twenty-five were Democrats.
On Wednesday afternoon, Luna reached out one more time to the social networking site.
“Hey @TwitterGov, Remember when you told me (in the below email) you would verify me if I won my primary? What’s the hold up? Seems like election meddling to me! #Fla13” Luna tweeted.