A second Republican has jumped into the race to challenge U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for his St. Petersburg-based Congressional seat.
Amanda Makki, a federal health care lobbyist, filed Tuesday to run in Florida’s 13th District. She joins a primary with Sheila Griffin, last seen in local politics running unsuccessfully for a St. Petersburg City Council seat.
Makki worked for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski for seven years, specializing in health policy, and left in 2014 to become a lobbyist for Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. In 2017, she joined the lobbying firm of K&L Gates and worked as a partner in their Washington, D.C. office.
It’s unclear what her ties are to the St. Petersburg area. Since attending George Washington University in 1996, Makki has spent her educational and professional career in the Washington, D.C., area, according to her LinkedIn profile. There is currently no record of an Amanda Makki owning property in Pinellas County, according to the property appraiser’s website. Makki didn’t answer the phone at a number listed to her.
On a campaign website, Makki says of her candidacy: "I am fighting to give Pinellas a voice in Washington and a stake in the future of our country. By working together, we can bring effective and principled leadership back to the 13th District.”
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Republicans have targeted Crist’s district, hoping to flip back the seat four years after the Democrat won it from Republican David Jolly in a tight contest. Crist faced nominal competition in 2018, his first re-election campaign, but his unknown challenge George Buck still managed 43 percent of the vote.
Makki’s D.C. ties could help her raise money much better than the $35,000 Buck brought in. It will be needed because Crist had nearly $2 million stashed in his campaign coffer as of March 31.