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Amanda Makki wins straw poll for Pinellas congressional seat

Opponent Anna Paulina Luna dismisses the significance of the straw poll.
Amanda Makki stands at the podium during an event at Largo Central Park, to announce her run for Congress on July 20, 2021 in Largo.
Amanda Makki stands at the podium during an event at Largo Central Park, to announce her run for Congress on July 20, 2021 in Largo. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 17, 2021

Amanda Makki says her recent win in a straw poll at Largo’s Conservative Grounds coffee shop means she’s leading the 13th Congressional District Republican primary race despite Anna Paulina Luna’s endorsement by Donald Trump.

Luna’s campaign says the straw poll is meaningless.

The Trump-themed coffee shop, with an Oval Office mockup and life-sized cardboard cutout of Trump, is a well-known local GOP gathering place.

Makki won the straw poll with 68 percent support (198 votes) to Luna’s 29 percent (86 votes). Eight votes were other.

Related: GOP billboard blasts Kathy Castor as a communist

Makki said that matters because the shop “is heavily patronized by supporters of Donald Trump,” and because Luna won it when the two faced each other, and Luna won, in last year’s primary.

Both candidates proclaim themselves ardent Trump devotees, but the former president endorsed Luna in September.

Luna campaign manager James Blair scoffed at the straw poll, referring to an October StPetePolls survey that showed Luna leading Makki 37 percent to 6 percent with more than half the respondents undecided.

He said Makki is “grasping” and “had staff (at the shop) all week pushing people. … We aren’t worried.”

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