2020 GOP candidate announces primary bid to replace Crist in Florida

2020 GOP candidate announces primary bid to replace Crist in Florida
© Greg Nash

Republican Amanda Makki is gunning for a primary rematch against Anna Paulina Luna in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. 

Makki, a former lobbyist, announced Tuesday that she’ll seek the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristFlorida poll: DeSantis falls behind Crist as COVID-19 cases surge Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge Charlie Crist calls on DeSantis to require Florida state employees to be vaccinated MORE (D-Fla.), who’s forgoing a reelection bid to run for Florida governor next year. Makki ran for the seat in 2020, but lost to Luna in the primary.

“I believe that you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins,” Makki said at an event in Largo, Fla., to announce her candidacy. “What it confirmed to me when we ended up losing this race in November was we need desperately to have a conservative voice in Washington that represents us.”


Florida’s Pinellas County-based 13th Congressional District is a top target for House Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. 

President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE carried the district by about 4 points in the 2020 presidential race, even as former President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE went on to win Florida by nearly 3 points. And while Crist won reelection last year comfortably, his decision to forgo another run for the House has only fueled GOP hopes of recapturing the district.

Luna, the Republican nominee for the seat in 2020, has so far cast herself as the pro-Trump candidate. Makki appears poised to challenge Luna on that front. In announcing her campaign on Tuesday, she mentioned a list of conservative grievances, including the debate over critical race theory and the surge in migrants at the U.S. southern border. 

“We all want the same thing for our future,” she said. “We want Joe Biden out.”

So far, three Democrats are vying for the nomination to replace Crist next year: state Reps. Michele Rayner and Ben Diamond, and former Obama administration adviser Eric Lynn.