State Sen. Ed Hooper is endorsing Kevin Haylsett in Florida’s 13th Congressional District as he runs for the GOP nomination.
Hooper, who himself is running for re-election, was first elected to the Senate to represent the Clearwater district after a narrow victory against Democrat Amanda Murphy in 2018, which helped the GOP maintain its Senate stronghold. He previously served four terms in the House before exiting in 2014 because of term limits. Hooper resides within CD 13.
“As someone who represents Pinellas County in the Florida Senate, I cannot think of anyone better than Kevin Hayslett to represent Pinellas County in Congress,” Hooper said in a statement. “As a former prosecutor, Kevin not only has the knowledge that is needed in Washington, but the courage to speak up for what’s right.”
Hooper’s endorsement is the most recent on a slate of prominent Republican supporters of Hayslett, most recently including House Speaker Chris Sprowls. Sprowls joins Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in supporting the former prosecutor.
“Everyday it becomes more and more clear that the (Joe) Biden administration and Democrats in Washington need to be held accountable and put in check. As a member of Congress, I will do just that,” Hayslett said in a statement. “We need leadership, we need accountability, and we need to start putting America first again.”
Hayslett launched his campaign at the end of January. He faces Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, Republican strategist Amanda Makki and Christine Quinn in the Republican Primary. Makki lost the Republican Primary to Luna in 2020.
The district, which has changed due to redistricting, now extends further north into traditionally red parts of Pinellas County and eliminates parts of St. Petersburg, the currently drawn district’s largest city and a Democratic stronghold. This has left one Democratic candidate — former Barack Obama administration official Eric Lynn — in the race.
Candidates are running to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist as he runs for Governor.