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"A Mixed Bag," MAGA Candidates Face GOP Incumbent Stronghold

August 24, 2022
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Anthony Sabatini, HD 7 candidate (left), Sandra Manzieri, Miami Dade School Board District 6 candidate (top middle), Laverne Spicer, HD 24 candidate (middle bottom), Anna Paulina Luna, HD 13 candidate (right)

"A mixed bag" are how the results from Tuesday's primary election are being described following several high-profile losses for MAGA candidates against GOP-backed incumbents. However, several Trump-endorsed candidates did push through to the November general election.

Anthony Sabatini, a member of the Florida House of Representatives representing District 32 and a US Army veteran lost the District 7 seat for US Congress against Establishment candidate Cory Mills.

With $1.2 million spent on targeted advertising against Sabatini in the days leading up to the Tuesday primary, Mills pulled out a win by out-spending Sabatini in addition to receiving outside GOP PAC dollars.

The GOP establishment's backing of Mills echos similar intervention taken by Florida's Establishment GOP in House District 118 where Republican incumbent Juan Fernandez-Barquin's won against US Air Force veteran Daniel Sotelo.

In both FL-7 and State House District 118, GOP candidates enjoyed targeted AD campaigns against their challengers. See The Miami Independent's coverage of District 118 and the targeted advertising Fernandez-Barquin funded here.

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A notable instance of Tallahassee GOP establishment intervention can also be found in the Republican primary for House District 120 which saw incumbent Jim Mooney beat challenger Rhonda Lopez through a significant negative advertising campaign funded by the Tallahassee House Republican Campaign Committee. Read The Miami Independent's coverage of the establishment funded intervention here.

Anna Paulina Luna, a Trump-endorsed US Air Force veteran advanced Tuesday in the Republican primary against four opponents receiving 44.4 percent of the vote.

Luna's closest opponent Kevin Hayslett garnered 38.7Z% and her third opponent, Amanda Makki, received just 17 percent.

Luna received former President Trump's endorsement in 2021, declaring a win in Luna's district is "key" to achieving a Republican house majority in 2022.

In her second unsuccessful congressional race, Laura Loomer lost to Daniel Webster to represent Florida's 11th congressional district by 6.2 percentage points. Webster received 50.7 percent of the vote to Loomer's 44.5 percent. Loomer lost to incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel in the 21st district in 2020.

Loomer has asserted that voter fraud cost her the primary race. “I am pleading with the Republican Party to please start taking this issue seriously. Please," Loomer announced in a press conference following her defeat.

Sandra Manzieri, the elementary teacher challenging long-time Miami-Dade educational establishment figure Maria Rojas to represent District 6 for the Miami-Dade School Board lost in the Tuesday primary.

See The Miami Independent's coverage of the District 6 race and the issues raised by concerned citizens regarding the Key Biscayne K-8 Center.

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