Democratic incumbent Charlie Crist is getting more aggressive in advertising his campaign targeting Pinellas County’s Black voters, as he continues his reelection bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
Crist’s campaign announced it is rolling out advertising investments in key Black-owned outlets to support Black media and reach voters where they are.
“We do not take for granted the support Congressman Crist has with the Black community in Pinellas,” said Mhariel Summers, the campaign’s Black Engagement Coordinator, in a news release. “We have made an active effort to support these local businesses and make sure that our message reaches everyone so they can vote and vote safely.”
The campaign will be running advertisements on The Weekly Challenger, Powerbroker Magazine, the Bulletin News and 99 Jams “The Burg” Carifesta Radio.
Crist has also appeared on several Black radio shows all across the Tampa Bay area, including 99 Jams “The Burg” on both “The Power of God and Community” with Pastor Frank Peterman and “What’s At Stake” with Pastor Manuel Sykes.
The campaign has also visited the Power Plug Morning Show with Paige and Antonio and “We the People” with Matt Byrd. All media are part of the Tampa Bay Black Media Coalition and have a history of participating in get out the vote initiatives to mobilize Black voters.
This outreach to Black voters will be vital to the campaign, with less than two weeks until the General Election.
Crist is facing his first formidable opposition since beating incumbent David Jolly for the seat in 2016.
Republican opponent Anna Paulina Luna saw a major fundraising boost in her largest haul to date, outraising the incumbent 3-to-1 in the months of August and September. Luna raised $1,5 million. Crist brought in about $440,000 in the same time span.
Luna’s record fundraising period could be the result of an endorsement from President Donald Trump, who gave her, a staunch-Trump ally, a shoutout over Twitter.
To have a shot, Luna’s campaign is trying to stretch her appeal across party lines. Her campaign hopes to relate to urban voting blocs to boost her cross-over appeal. The campaign is also relying on swing voters and independents.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a non-partisan election prognosticator run by the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato, shifted CD 13 from “Likely Democrat” to “Safe Democrat” at the start of October. The shift might provide Crist a sigh of relief.
Democrats are more active in CD 13 than Republicans, according to a St. Pete Polls analysis of all registered voters in the district. For the sake of that analysis, St. Pete Polls considered an active voter any voter who cast a ballot in the last four years.
Democrats comprise 38% of all registered voters in the district, while Republicans comprise 33%. Of those, 40% of registered Democrats are considered active compared to 36% of registered Republicans.
Crist leads overwhelmingly among Democrats with 82% support. He only has support among 22% of registered Republicans, though his share of cross-party support is higher than Luna’s 12% support among Democrats.