Florida nonprofit founder launches bid to replace Crist in Congress
Nonprofit founder Audrey Henson is jumping into the race for Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-Fla.) St. Petersburg-based House seat.
Henson, a Pinellas County businesswoman who founded a nonprofit that helps college students secure congressional internships, joins two other Republicans — Anna Paulina Luna and Amanda Makki — in the primary to replace Crist in Florida’s 13th District.
In a video announcing her campaign on Wednesday, Henson hammered home her Florida roots and cast herself as a hard-line conservative, vowing to “support our police” and “protect the southern border and the Port of Tampa where illegal immigrants and drugs are smuggled in daily.”
“I’m not another carpetbagging politician,” Henson said. “I grew up here in Pinellas on food stamps and Medicaid with parents who struggled with substance abuse and experienced firsthand how big government programs meant to help us hurt us.”
“I’m running for Congress because we need real people willing to step up and take the fight to Nancy Pelosi, ‘the Squad’ and the liberal elite who are pushing trillion-dollar socialist programs and liberal ideology that are destroying our country,” she added, referring to the House Speaker from California and a group of liberal Democratic lawmakers.
The race for Florida’s 13th District, which encompasses most of Pinellas County on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is among the state’s key congressional battlegrounds in 2022.
Crist, a Republican-turned-Democrat, isn’t seeking a fourth term in the House next year and is instead running for Florida governor, leaving his House seat open and raising Republicans’ hopes of recapturing the district after losing it in 2016.
A handful of Democrats are running to replace Crist, including state Reps. Michele Rayner and Ben Diamond and former Obama administration adviser Eric Lynn.