CD 13 Republican Primary: A Donald Trump loyalty contest

A June poll found that Trump remains popular with 85% of Republicans in the district.

The Republican Primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District is a contest of who can out-Trump their opponents.

Yes, the race has been plagued by lawsuits, death threats, and an abundant use of the termRINO,” but the core battle of this Primary has whittled down to one test: Who can prove the strongest loyalty to former President Donald Trump? Notably, a June poll found that Trump remains popular with 85% of Republicans in the district. Just one in seven said they disapproved of him.

While Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna boasts the coveted endorsement from the former President, former prosecutor Kevin Hayslett and Republican strategist Amanda Makki have tirelessly worked to also prove their alliance to Trump — even after he called them “RINOs.”

Makki dove headfirst into Trump territory and heightened conservative rhetoric at her campaign kickoff last July ⁠— a shift from her previous approach as a more moderate conservative.

Hayslett has repeatedly aligned himself with the former President in advertisements, especially on the topic of immigration. He even threw the “RINO” jab back at Luna in the commercial, calling her a “pro-amnesty, (Barack) Obama-loving liberal.” Luna and Hayslett have gone head-to-head in the weeks leading up to the Primary, spending big on attack ads.

But, despite Hayslett and Makki’s attempts to out-Trump Luna, she’s still considered the front-runner in the race.

Luna took the Republican nomination back in 2020, defeating Makki in the Primary; however, Luna failed to unseat incumbent Congressman Charlie Crist. But now, the seat is open. And, there’s a better chance for Republicans to flip it, thanks to redistricting.

The pressure among the GOP hopefuls rose after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed his new congressional map. That map shifted the district from purple to red — now, it extends further north into traditionally Republican parts of Pinellas County and eliminates parts of St. Petersburg, which was previously the district’s largest city and served as a Democratic stronghold.

This means that the winner of the Republican nomination may have a smoother wave to ride into the November General Election than previously expected. So much so that it led two leading Democratic candidates to drop out — leaving just one Democrat, former Obama administration official Eric Lynn, in the race.

As for endorsements, Luna has garnered the biggest names as far as Trump-territory goes.

She’s been endorsed by U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert and Byron Donalds; Turning Point Action, founded by conservative activist Charlie Kirk,; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Hayslett has a collection of endorsements from former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, well-known Tampa Bay Sheriffs, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and the Tampa Bay Times. Makki has collected support from 13 Pinellas County Mayors.

Hayslett has quickly come up as the underdog in the race after he launched his campaign in January. As of Aug. 3, He’s the second-highest fundraiser, bested only by Luna, with $1,591,026 raised so far. Luna is still on top in the numbers game, amassing $1,951,455 since the start of her campaign. Makki follows the pair with $914,450 raised, nearing the $1 million mark.

The CD 13 Republican Primary includes two other candidates: Christine Quinn and Moneer Kheireddine, who have both raised under $50,000 total. Quinn unsuccessfully attempted to unseat U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in 2020.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Joe Corsin

    August 18, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    Who can prove the strongest loyalty to election criminal Donald Trump… smouldering dumpster fire Donald Trump??? Ladies and gentlemen the bar is low. I think they just want to woo his stupid supporters. No way anyone could be serious about their admiration of such a filthy rotten monger as Donald J Sociopath. These people have been conned, duped, and deluded.

    • Ron Ogden

      August 19, 2022 at 4:56 am

      Didn’t I see pretty much the same quote as above in some Liz Chaney campaign literature? 70-30, the margin was last Tuesday, something like that? I think they refer to this kind of empty, pointless noise making as “fulminating.” Sort of funny, really.

      • Joe Corsin

        August 19, 2022 at 9:18 am

        He’s a crook and liar dude. Just because a lot of people have been duped by the man and in some bandwagon to hell doesn’t make him any better. People liked Hitler and look where that went. Have some gd sense…have the sense that God gave an ape for Christ sakes. Whole world outside MAGA land is laughing at the USA because of such stupidity.

        • Ron Ogden

          August 19, 2022 at 1:09 pm

          All of us are stupid and you’re the only smart one. Megalomania: the same attitude you condemn Trump for. Frankly, I think you’re just a hack on a contract and your money runs out November 8.

  • Carol Freeman

    August 21, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Of all the candidates I’ve evaluated I’m leaning towards Kevin Hayslett. He is the only local in the race and a life long, consistent conservative. Makki seems to have some hope, Luna is not a good choice (Crist 2.0)

    • Devin

      August 23, 2022 at 10:38 am

      Luna is an America First Candidate which is all I want. In this world of corrupt establishment Rinos the GOP has done this to themselves. The fact that Hayslett put “Trump backed” on his campaign yard signs and obviously uses projection to call Luna a “Rino” is all I needed to see regarding Hayslett’s character. We will take over the GOP with America First candidates.

  • Elin

    August 24, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    Every liberal I know accepts “main stream media” as their news source ans google search, fact finder , politico, and left wing propaganda branch of the current administration as their “research” sources. Every single America First patriot I know researches any news from BOTH SIDES, thinks the matter through and reaches their own independent conclusion. No wonder this fascists want to attack the intelligencia, and take away any methods of self protection, prior to eliminating them.

  • Joseph Hallman

    August 24, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    I voted for Hayslett but am happy with Luna. As a recent refugee from ultra-liberal and cheerless over-taxed Minnesota good riddance to corrupt pro-abortion Democrat rule! Let a thousand flowers bloom! Some Floridians don’t appreciate what they have, especially Trump haters.

Comments are closed.


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