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Kevin McCarthy, top U.S. House Republican, endorses Amanda Makki’s bid versus Charlie Crist

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy is throwing his weight into the race.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader for the Republican Party, is endorsing Amanda Makki for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“I’m endorsing Amanda Makki for Florida’s 13th Congressional District which is a key seat in our effort to regain the House majority. She has the tenacity and work ethic to flip this district in November,” McCarthy said. “Amanda’s life is the story of the American dream, and her commitment to our conservative principles, passion to serve, and willingness to fight for what is right are exactly what the people of South Pinellas County are looking for in their next congressman.”

Makki immigrated to the U.S. as an infant with her family as they fled an oppressive Iranian government.

Makki is a former Senior Health Adviser to Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski who she served for seven years. She’s running in a crowded GOP primary in hopes of unseating incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Rep. McCarthy,” said Makki. “His leadership and commitment to fighting for President Trump’s conservative agenda has been unwavering and I am looking forward to doing my part once I am elected.”

Makki’s latest endorsement follows her recently released fourth quarter fundraising report showing she continues to far outpace the rest of the Republican field.

Makki faces Anna Paulina Luna, George Buck, Matt Becker and Sheila Griffin in the Republican primary.

As of the end of 2019, Makki had raised more than $538,000. Buck follows her with $400,000, followed by Luna with $147,000. Becker has raised less than $80,000 and Griffin has banked just $25,000 for her campaign.

Crist, meanwhile, has raised more than $1.5 million.

Makki is so far the clear Republican front-runner. She’s collected other endorsements from U.S. Rep. John Rutherford and from the Republican Main Street Partnership PAC, a conservative group that aims to strengthen governance in the Republican Party.

Makki was named to the National Republican Campaign Committee’s Young Guns program as one of the top 43 “On the Radar” candidates. Other endorsements including U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn and Michael Burgess, the Maverick PAC, FreedomWorks, View PAC, Maggie’s List, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC and the Associated Builders & Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

Makki formerly served as a partner with K&L Gates, a nationally-ranked public policy firm. She also currently serves as Director of FDA Legislation and External Affairs for the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

Prior to her private sector experience, she served as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee during debate and passage of the Affordable Care Act. While serving in Murkowski’s office, she helped author health care legislation and amendments, and helped to set overall messaging and policy strategy.

Makki also worked for Nebraska Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry providing legal counsel on health care and education issues.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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