GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Anna Paulina Luna, the conservative Republican who said she believes former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, was elected to Congress for the first time Tuesday along Florida’s west coast. The outcome flipped to the GOP the seat that Rep. Charlie Crist abandoned to run against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Luna, 33, an Air Force veteran who previously lost the race to Crist in 2020, was winning 53-45 with nearly all votes counted against challenger Eric Lynn, a former Obama defense adviser. The Associated Press projected Luna as the winner at 8:43 p.m.
When the boundaries of the 13th Congressional District – which includes Pinellas County, west of Tampa – were redrawn, it included nearly 35,000 more Republican voters than Democrats. In 2020, when Crist beat Luna by 6 percentage points, there were nearly 25,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
Luna’s campaign was helped by unusually heavy Republican turnout in Pinellas County, where nearly 10,000 more GOP voters cast ballots than Democrats.
Luna is an outspoken conservative with endorsements from Trump and DeSantis. She campaigned on toughening immigration laws and improving veteran care.
Lynn, 44, was a senior adviser to the secretary of defense under former President Barack Obama. He spent years in D.C. shaping national security and international relation policies.
Lynn appealed to moderate Democrats and swing Republicans. He raised $2 million and spent about $1.6 million, according to federal campaign finance reports. Luna, who survived a primary in August, raised $3 million and spent $2.6 million on the election.
One voter in Pinellas County, Kerry Roberts, 53, of St. Petersburg, said he voted for Republicans in every race in Florida – except for Luna. He called her not a credible candidate.
“If she gets elected to Congress, we’ll be the laughingstock,” Roberts said. “I tell my friends, ‘I want a red wave, and I want a small, blue divergent channel,’” he said. “People ask me, ‘You don’t want to take back the House?’ I say, ‘I don’t want to send idiots to D.C.’”
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