Adding to what has already been a banner month, congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna got a nod from President Donald Trump Thursday through his favorite platform.
“Thank you. My great honor!” Trump tweeted at Luna Thursday night after she tweeted praise for the President on the two year anniversary of his opening an American embassy in Jerusalem.
“Two years ago today @realDonaldTrump delivered for the Israeli people in a way many before him failed to by opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem where it belongs. Long live #Israel,” Luna wrote.
It doesn’t seem like much, but a response from POTUS is a big deal.
The tweet wasn’t an endorsement, but it signals Luna is on his radar. Such as she should be.
The U.S. Air Force veteran and conservative commentator comes from the hardcore pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party and quickly locked up endorsements from high-profile Trump allies such as U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Turning Point USA Founder/Students for Trump Co-Chair Charlie Kirk after entering the race with a splash last September for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, representing much of Pinellas County.
While Luna hit a lull in both fundraising and momentum in the late fall, she’s gotten a boost into the spring with a series of victories.
Not the least among them, she raised more than $220,000 in the first quarter of 2020, the best quarterly report of any candidate in the race.
That banner report followed a straw poll win, being named “on the radar” to the NRCC’s Young Guns program, an honor for which her toughest opponent, lawyer and former congressional health care policy adviser Amanda Makki, is only one step ahead as a “contender,” appearing regularly in national conservative media, and racking up more endorsements from Trump allies as well as local leaders such as Bill Foster and David Yates.
The string of campaign boosts gives Luna all the makings of a viable contender for the GOP nomination, even if some had counted her out in her campaign’s early days as a fringe Trump acolyte.
Makki has waded through the primary so far as the clear establishment favorite, a nod that historically meant almost certain victory in a GOP field.
But with Trump’s historic 2016 upset upending politics as usual, a shift to populist conservatism means fringe is less a kiss of death these days and more a nod to voters increasingly drawn to the notion of draining the swamp.
As for Trump’s acknowledgment, it’s a potential blow to Makki. Look no further into history than Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Counted out in his early days of the campaign as a non-starter behind the likes of establishment favorite Adam Putnam, DeSantis saw a major boost after Trump’s late endorsement, the momentum that catapulted him into the Governor’s mansion.
While DeSantis got his boost in the general, Luna may be hoping for a primary endorsement to get her into what will be a tough general against incumbent Charlie Crist, a former Republican-turned-Democrat who Republicans are chomping at the bit to unseat.