Rep. Val Demings to run for Senate against Marco Rubio

According to a Politico report, Demings had considered a run for governor of Florida but decided to pursue the Senate seat.

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Florida Congresswoman Val Demings is planning to run next year for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio. 

According to a Politico report, Demings had considered a run for governor of Florida but decided to pursue the Senate. A high-profile member of the House of Representatives, Demings was once on President Joe Biden’s shortlist of potential vice presidential candidates. 

Democratic Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (left) is planning to run next year for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Marco Rubio (right). (Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)

Demings, a 64-year-old Democrat, served as police chief in Orlando — the city’s first Black woman in the role — and her support of law enforcement while opposing systemic racism makes her a strong candidate against the two-term Republican Rubio, who’s 49. 

“She’s going to draw a contrast between who she is and how she represents Florida vs. Marco Rubio, who a lot of people where I live never see him,” said Alex Sink, a chief financial officer in the state who ran a close race against Rick Scott for governor in 2010. She was among those on a recent Zoom call with Demings and state activists discussing the lawmaker’s best electoral prospects.

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An unnamed senior adviser to Demings said she became increasingly frustrated with Senate Republicans and their “obstruction.” 

Demings recently clashed with House Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, who attempted to add an irrelevant amendment to a hate crimes bill last month. She accused Republicans of supporting law enforcement officers when “it is politically convenient to do so.” 

According to the adviser, conservative opposition to President Biden’s COVID relief bill “pushed her over the edge.” The adviser said there’s a “98.6 percent chance” Demings will challenge Rubio for the Senate seat. 

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The report notes that as a bilingual candidate in a state where many Hispanics vote Republican, Rubio will not be easy to beat. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also signed several bills making voting in Florida more difficult. But one political action committee has pledged to support Demings with heavy groundwork aimed at registering voters and driving turnout. 

If Demings is successful in her run for the Senate, she will be only the third Black woman to be a U.S. senator, the most recent being Kamala Harris, who left the body after winning the vice presidency in 2020.  

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