ST. PETERSUBRG, Fla. - Anna Paulina Luna is quickly becoming a rising star in the GOP. From a relatively unknown to beating out four other Republican candidates in the U.S. House District 13 primary, the 31-year-old has come a very long way in a very short time.
“Someone from my background usually doesn’t end up in politics,” she said. “My mom had me at 20 years old, walked home from an abortion clinic as a result of my father having a drug addiction. There's a lot of involvement of me growing up in the welfare system,” Luna said.
She says those experiences helped shape who she is today, as did her time serving in the U.S. Air Force.
“I joined the military at 19. It was something so I could pay for schooling. and I can say that I’m proud I have a STEM degree from University of West Florida and I paid for it myself, with the help of Uncle Sam,” she said.
Young, energetic and social media-savvy, Luna has handily made a name for herself in Republican politics.
Her primary victory earned her a “complete and total” endorsement from President Trump.
“To have him reach down and be personally invested in this race, it’s a big deal,” she said.
This November, however, she faces her toughest challenge yet: a one-on-one against incumbent Charlie Crist, who has all the name recognition and experience a candidate could want.
“What I proved in the last election is that it doesn’t matter how much you’re outspent, you can have all the money in the world but you can’t buy people’s trust,” she said.
Win or lose, she says she’s in politics for the long haul and hopes to inspire others, especially young women along the way.
“Regardless of the circumstances you're born into, you can succeed. There is a power in believing in yourself,” she told FOX 13.