Republican lawyer and former congressional health care policy adviser Amanda Makki on Monday launched the Veterans for Makki coalition.
The coalition, led by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Matt Tito, is the first for Makki’s campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
“Pinellas County is home to thousands of veterans that fought, trained, and deployed around the world to ensure our safety and freedom at home. I am proud to announce that my friend Matt Tito, a decorated Marine and combat veteran who served our nation in Afghanistan and aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, will be leading Veterans for Makki,” Makki said.
“I am blessed to have his support and guidance to help ensure veterans of Pinellas County have a voice and a representative that will work for them.”
Tito said he was honored to be selected for the job before launching into an attack on the incumbent.
“Since being elected, President [Donald] Trump has prioritized our military with pay raises and new and advanced equipment while Charlie Crist has left us voiceless. I am confident that Amanda is the best candidate to support President Trump’s agenda to ensure our military has the right tools to get the job done,” he said.
“As a combat veteran who served two tours, I know which candidate I want fighting our battles in Washington and that’s Amanda Makki.”
Makki, an attorney and former George W. Bush appointee to the Pentagon’s General Councils office on anti-terrorism issues, is one of five candidates competing for the Republican nomination in CD 13, which covers much of Pinellas County. She faces George Buck, Sheila Griffin, Anna Paulina Luna and Sharon Newby.
So far, Makki holds a cash advantage with nearly $750,000 raised and more than $600,000 on hand.
Luna, however, has shown traction among the hardcore pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party, locking 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.
Makki has touted endorsements as well, including a recent nod from U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the GOP minority whip.