ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna claims in a recent restraining order that one of her Republican primary opponents wants to kill her.
Luna and a friend, Erin Olszewski, both filed restraining orders against Will Braddock, a Republican who has officially filed to run in Florida’s 13th district representing St. Petersburg and southern Pinellas County.
Luna was the Republican candidate for the seat in 2020, losing to Rep. Charlie Crist. She has vowed to run again in 2022, though she has not yet filed official paperwork.
In her filing for a restraining order last week, Luna said she was “in fear for her life” after she got information “regarding a plan (with a timeline) to murder me made by William Braddock.” Luna goes on to say she has “handed over all evidence in my possession to law enforcement,” which includes “screenshots of text messages over the last few weeks from associates of Braddock.”
Olszewski said in her request for a restraining order that she recorded a conversation with Braddock where he “threatened to contact his mob and make Anna ‘disappear’.”
St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez confirmed the incident is under investigation, but would not confirm that Olszewski or Luna turned in a tape as evidence.
In a statement to 8 On Your Side, Braddock said in part:
I have no comment at this time besides my attorneys are sending cease-and-desist letters to anybody releasing audio that may or may not be of me that may or may not be altered that we’re probably gotten illegally since Florida is a two party consent state and I’m sure whoever’s on the recording did not consent to be recorded.William Braddock, Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 13th district, in a text to 8 On Your Side on June 17, 2021
Both Luna and Olszewski were granted a temporary injunction for protection against stalking against Braddock.
Michael Lundy, a family law attorney with Tampa firm Older Lundy Alvarez & Koch, says the process for getting a restraining order against someone is fairly straightforward.
The person who wants the restraining order writes a sworn petition that lays out the facts. The petition then goes to an emergency duty judge, who assumes the allegations are true, then decides whether to grant the temporary injunction based on whether it will protect someone against irreparable bodily harm.
If granted, the injunction is then issued ex parte, a temporary status that effectively allows the injunction to proceed without a hearing. The order is then served against the alleged stalker in person. Within 7-10 days, the parties must come together for a hearing, where everyone gets a chance to speak and evidence is usually presented.
Both these cases have that hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
David Jolly, the former Republican congressman in FL-13 who lost to Crist in 2016, says Luna has the early edge for the Republican nomination because of her ties to the former president.
“Luna is the odds-on favorite in the Republican primary, a primary that is still dominated by the identity of Donald Trump and by Trumpism politically,” Jolly said.
However, Jolly says Democrats will have the edge unless the seat is redrawn more competitively towards Republicans in the upcoming redistricting process.
Democratic state representatives Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner-Goolsby have both declared their candidacy for the seat, as has former Obama adviser Eric Lynn.