TAMPA (WFLA) – Former President Donald Trump attended a major fundraiser for House Republicans as the GOP turns its attention to the 2022 midterm elections in one year.
“I will be doing a roundtable and speaking tonight at the National Republican Congressional Committee annual dinner in Tampa,” Trump said in a statement issued Monday. “Look forward to being there!”
Trump has endorsed Pinellas County Republican and Air Force Veteran Anna Paulina Luna for the second time.
“I hope to be one of the five seats targeted to take back the House in 2022,” Luna said, before she attended the dinner and reception at the Tampa Convention Center.
Luna is hoping to flip Florida’s 13th Congressional District red with Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist vacating that seat to run for governor. In the Republican primary, she is running against Amanda Makki, who finished second to Luna in the GOP nominating contest last year.
“We are really excited to be back on the campaign trail,” she said, “but I think that a lot of people, especially with what happened in Virginia are very excited. Many, many conservatives especially realize that ultimately at the end of the day people want to just focus on what’s best for their families.”
USF distinguished political scientist professor emerita Dr. Susan MacManus said Florida Republicans should be encouraged by Glenn Youngkin’s upset victory in the Virginia governor race and Democratic Governor Phil Murphy’s narrow win in New Jersey.
“It’s also been a pretty big wake-up call to Florida Democrats,” MacManus said. “They cant waste a second of time because we got a lot of races next year.”
MacManus said she expects it to be an expensive year for Florida politics, especially with key races for governor and U.S. Senate.
“It’s important if you want to win a congressional seat, you’ve got to raise a lot of money, too,” she said. “But it’s a lot harder to raise money for a down-ballot race.”
Luna told 8 On Your Side Trump is hosting a fundraiser for her campaign in December at Mar-A-Lago.
“I would be grateful to receive President Trump’s support as I am the only candidate who has served as an election attorney for him in Wisconsin during last November’s recount,” Amanda Makki said in an email to 8 On Your Side. “I have the support of six Pinellas County mayors – more than any Republican or Democrat candidate in this race.”
In Congressional District 13, State Representatives Ben Diamond and Michele Raynor Goolsby, as well as former Obama advisor Eric Lynn, are seeking the Democratic nomination.
“Democrats have a lot of work to do obviously in effectively communicating our message,” Diamond said, “but more importantly, I think we have a lot of work to do in actually listening to voters.”
In an interview published Monday by Fox News, Trump said he will “probably” wait until after the 2022 midterms to announce whether he will run again for president in 2024.
“I am certainly thinking about it and we’ll see,” Trump told Fox News. “I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms.”