Report: Florida Republican allegedly threatens to send Russian-Ukrainian hit squad after rival

Recording made while candidate speaks about Anna Paulina Luna
Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, waves at campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Tampa, Oct. 29, 2020
Posted at 11:23 AM, Jun 18, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — As U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist begins his pursuit of returning to the governor's office, the race for his congressional seat is already taking turns that could only happen in Florida politics.

According to a phone call recording obtained by Politico's Marc Caputo, William Braddock, a candidate for the seat, told an activist not to support GOP candidate Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary because he could send Russian and Ukrainian assassins after her.

"I really don't want to have to end anybody's life for the good of the people of the United States of America," Braddock said, according to the recording obtained by POLITICO. "That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f---ing speed bump in the road. She's a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.”

Politico reported the call was recorded by Republican activist Erin Olszewski. Braddock told Politico there was no proof it was him on the call. The call also allegedly took place before Braddock became a candidate, Politico said. Olszewski reportedly told Luna about the recording. Luna sought an injunction against Braddock last week.

Luna had support from embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, himself under federal investigation, and lost to Crist by just six points in the 2020 general election. Republicans are hoping to pick up the seat in the 2022 elections as they seek to retake the U.S. House.