By: Kelly Hayes
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard is the eighth Pinellas County Mayor to announce his endorsement of Republican Congressional candidate Amanda Makki, who is running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
Hibbard, a Republican himself, has deep roots in Clearwater politics, serving two terms as Mayor from 2004 through 2012, and then returning to the mayoral seat in 2020. This endorsement is one of Makki’s more notable, with Clearwater being Pinellas County’s second-largest city.
“I am endorsing Amanda in the race for the Congressional District 13 seat because she is a conservative who I believe can work with others in Washington to get results for Clearwater and Pinellas County,” Hibbard said in a statement. “As the second-largest city in Pinellas, our beaches and transportation infrastructure are important to Clearwater and Amanda has demonstrated her understanding of our needs. I’m also confident that when a constituent calls, Amanda will answer just as the late Congressman Bill Young always did.”
Makki has been also endorsed by Largo Mayor Woody Brown and Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters as well as the widow of former CD 13 Congressman Bill Young, Beverly Young.
“Mayor Hibbard is a man of faith, values, and leadership. These admirable qualities along with his drive to give back and serve the residents of Clearwater are just a few of the reasons I am honored to have his endorsement,” Makki said in a statement. “I am ready to serve the people of Pinellas County in Washington and I’ll never stop fighting for our conservative values.”
Makki faces former opponent Anna Paulina Luna and newcomer Audrey Henson in the Republican Primary so far. In the 2020 election, Makki was seen as a more moderate option on the GOP ballot to Luna, who garnered support from former President Donald Trump in the race. This year she has attempted to align herself more with Trump’s conservative base, characterizing President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “radical” and “socialists.”
Makki is a former senior health adviser to Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who she served for seven years.
Makki lost to Luna in the CD 13 Republican Primary last year. Luna went on to lose in the General Election to incumbent Democrat Charlie Crist.
But, Republicans stand a good chance of flipping CD 13 this year. Crist is not seeking re-election, running for Governor instead.
Makki is also a frequent commentator on conservative networks, including Fox News, Fox Business and Newsmax.
In addition to her experience on Capitol Hill, Makki also served in the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks and as a lawyer during the Wisconsin recount for Trump.