Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna launched a new digital ad Monday in her race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
The 60-second digital ad, titled “Ditch,” walks viewers through a brief story of Luna’s life. It begins with a clarion call to conservatives.
“My mom chose life over abortion and decided to have me,” she says in the ad.
Yet the ad takes a markedly different tone than many in Luna’s previous bid for the seat last year against incumbent Charlie Crist. In the last cycle, Luna’s paid media was often full of obvious conservative imagery, with guns and muscle cars.
This ad potentially sets the tone for Luna’s new campaign in a race for an open seat. Instead of donning military fatigues, a nod to her service in the U.S. Air Force, loaded up with guns, Luna narrates the ad in a red blouse and tells a story sure to pull at anyone’s heartstrings, regardless of party affiliation.
“I’m living proof anything is possible in America. Growing up, my family struggled with substance abuse. We moved around a lot, and I even lived in a drug house,” she says. “I survived a gang shooting and an armed robbery. But I never gave up because being born in America is like winning the lottery.”
So far, Luna is the only Republican in the race, a contrast to the 2020 election when she faced several Primary challengers and ran as a far-right candidate aligned with then-President Donald Trump. That means, so far, at least, she’s able to target her early campaign activity toward a broader audience, one that might respond better to the more measured messaging.
Luna pivots her messaging in the ad to her perseverance.
“I joined the Air Force and found hope, helped rescue my dad from drug abuse and homelessness, and made stopping human trafficking the mission of my life,” Luna says.
“Anywhere else on earth, my story would have ended in a ditch, but America saved me, and that’s why I’m running for Congress,” she continues. “If you want more of the same, you know who to vote for. But if you want someone who will serve our country instead of themselves, I’m Anna Paulina Luna. I approved this message, and I’m asking for your vote.”
So far, three Democrats are running for CD 13, including Reps. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner-Goolsby, and former Barack Obama administration national security adviser Eric Lynn. A fourth candidate, St. Pete Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, is mulling a run.
The crowded Democratic Primary means liberal candidates will have to expend significant resources to get to the General Election. And their campaigns are likely to stake out various lanes.
Lynn is already posturing his campaign as a moderate Democrat, dispelling claims about Democrats wanting to defund the police before they even start with nods to his pro-defense background.
Diamond, meanwhile, is running as a sort of establishment option, leaning on high name recognition as a state lawmaker for the past several years. Rayner-Goolsby, so far the only woman in the Democratic field and the only Black candidate in the race, is running on her service as a civil rights lawyer and could capture key voting blocs among women, Black voters and the LGBTQ community.
With the Democratic campaigns early in their own messaging, it is likely a smart strategy to target a broad electorate in a purple district.
Luna’s strategy will likely shift once this year’s reapportionment is complete, particularly if redistricting shifts the district’s boundaries to include more Republicans, exclude Democrats, or a combination of both.