'Trump vs Obama By Proxy' in Florida's 13th District Florida map (Dreamstime)
One of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation and one frequently billed by pundits as "Trump vs. Obama by Proxy" is now a standoff.
According to a just-completed St. Pete Poll of Florida's open 13th District (St. Petersburg), Trump Republican Anna Paulina Luna has a wafer-thin edge of 45.9% to 45.3% over liberal Democrat and former Obama administration official Eric Lynn.
In a state where early voting is popular, the poll found, 56% of Lynn's supporters say they have already voted. In contrast, St. Pete Polls found only 39% of Luna's backers have voted early.
The new 13th is one Republicans have been strongly counting on as a pickup. Two years ago, U.S. Air Force veteran and conservative firebrand Luna stunned local observers by drawing 48 percent of the vote against Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist.
With Crist leaving the seat open to run for governor, "[r]edistricting has since shifted district boundaries to favor Republicans," according to Peter Schorsch, publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, "Under previous district boundaries, Democrats had about a 16,000-voter advantage. Under new boundaries, which shifted north to include areas with a heavy GOP advantage, Republicans now have about 33,000 more voters than Democrats."
Luna, whose husband Andy is also an Air Force veteran and winner of the Bronze Star for his time in Afghanistan, most recently ran the Hispanic outreach arm of the charity known as Turning Point, USA.
Lynn got his political start in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and served in both the State Department and Pentagon under President Obama.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.