Advertisement

Anna Paulina Luna out-fundraised by Democratic challenger in late 2023

The Pinellas Republican faces an increasingly crowded field for her District 13 U.S. House seat.
 
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz listens to U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 30, 2023, to discuss the U.S. government's lack of transparency on unidentified aerial phenomena.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz listens to U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 30, 2023, to discuss the U.S. government's lack of transparency on unidentified aerial phenomena. [ JIM WATSON/AFP | Getty Images North America ]
Published Feb. 2|Updated Feb. 3

Democrats hoping to see Republican U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna out of a job are celebrating the most recent round of quarterly campaign fundraising reports.

Whitney Fox, one of at least five Democrats who’ve filed to challenge Luna, raised more money than the incumbent Republican in the last quarter of 2023. Luna, who represents District 13, which spans most of Pinellas County, raised more than $151,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. Fox, who started her campaign Oct. 23, raised more than $204,000.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democrats’ congressional campaign organizing arm, celebrated what they characterized as Luna’s fundraising struggles in the last quarter of 2023.

“It’s no surprise that voters and donors don’t want to give to a member of the chaos caucus who’s failed to do anything that actually helps Florida families,” committee spokesperson Lauryn Fanguen wrote in a statement.

The Democratic group has slammed Luna for months in news releases. They argue Luna’s positions on abortion and immigration are out of step with the district she represents.

Luna’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At times, Luna has made local issues the focus of her first term in Congress. She pushed the federal government over an ongoing Pinellas County beach renourishment controversy and wrote a federal judge to ask for a lesser sentence for a local man implicated in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Other times, Luna has made noise on national issues. A mother who recently gave birth to her first child, Luna called for the U.S. House to allow proxy voting to new moms so they can minimize their time apart from their newborns. She also was featured in a news conference demanding transparency from the government on UFOs.

Any Democrat challenging Luna is in for a tough battle. Florida’s 13th Congressional District, long a swing seat that has been represented by both Democrats and Republicans over the years, got significantly less purple after the Legislature redrew the state’s congressional map in 2022. Luna won the district by 8 points in 2022, and Republicans hold a 7-point voter registration edge.

“The people of Pinellas County are fed up with the chaos in Washington and Luna’s self-serving political games,” Fox said in a campaign release touting the fundraising numbers.

Fox, a former official with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, will likely need some of the money she raised last quarter to win her crowded Democratic primary race. She’s up against former cybersecurity consultant John Liccione, former paralegal Peter Owen, Biden administration alum Sabrina Bousbar and former airline pilot Mark Weinkrantz.

Luna, so far unopposed in the Republican primary, has no such issue. She has nearly $550,000 on hand, according to federal campaign finance filings.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Fox reported having more than $151,000 on hand at the end of last quarter. Weinkrantz’s campaign reported raising $23,791 last quarter, and had more than $24,000 on hand after a $20,000 loan from the candidate to the campaign, filings show. Liccione had about $5,900 on hand. A federal campaign finance database listed no quarterly report for Owen, who entered the race in December. Bousbar announced she was getting in the race in January.