Campaign

Trump-endorsed candidate leading GOP field to replace Crist in Florida: poll

Former President Trump’s preferred candidate is leading the GOP field to replace Rep. Charlie Crist (D), who is waging a bid for the governor’s mansion, in Florida, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by St. Pete Polls, found that Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, whom Trump endorsed last month, has 36.7 percent support among likely Republican voters in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

No other candidates vying for the GOP nomination broke double digits in the poll: Amanda Makki, a former aide to Rep. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), received 6.4 percent support; former Florida state House candidate Matt Tito tracked 2.7 percent support; and Audrey Henson, a nonprofit founder, raked in 2.1 percent support.

A majority of those polled, however, have not yet chosen a candidate in the race. According to the poll, 52.1 percent of respondents remain undecided.

The strong polling numbers for Luna come more than one month after Trump threw his support behind the Air Force veteran, calling her a “great fighter” and a “warrior.”

“Anna Paulina Luna is a great fighter who is running for Congress in Florida. She is an Air Force veteran who puts America First, unlike her RINO opponents. Anna is committed to strong borders, serving our Veterans, and ensuring Florida’s beautiful coastlines are protected,” Trump wrote in a statement.

“This is an important race because it is ‘key’ to taking back the House. Anna is a warrior, she is a winner, and it’s time for all America First Republicans to unite behind her strong campaign. Anna has my complete and total endorsement,” he added.

The GOP candidates are vying for the nomination to flip Florida’s 13th Congressional District red after Crist announced in May that he was challenging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to win back the job he held from 2007 until 2011.

Luna beat Makki and secured the GOP nomination to represent Florida’s 13th Congressional District last year but ultimately lost to Crist by more than 24,000 votes, or 6 percentage points.

Luna’s support increased among voters in the St. Petersburg district when they were reminded that she is backed by Trump.

The poll found that when likely GOP voters knew that Luna is the only candidate endorsed by Trump, she raked in 62.4 percent support.

The undecided bloc of voters also significantly decreased when it was noted that Luna is endorsed by Trump, falling to 22.2 percent.

In a head-to-head matchup between Luna and Makki, Luna brought in 60.6 percent support compared with Makki’s 13.9. Just more than 25 percent of voters remained undecided.

The poll surveyed 518 likely GOP voters in Florida’s 13th Congressional District between Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. The margin of error is 4.3 percentage points.

Tags Charlie Crist Donald Trump Florida Lisa Murkowski Ron DeSantis

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