Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) will enter the Democrat primary to challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for Florida’s Senate seat in 2022, multiple reports indicate.
Demings’s plan to walk away from the House Democrats is another blow to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to keep the majority in the upcoming midterm elections. While Demings’ Orlando-area district is safely Democrat, she is only the latest in a long line of veteran lawmakers to walk away from Pelosi and her slim majority ahead of the midterm elections.
Politico and NBC News confirmed Demings’s intention to enter the race Tuesday morning, apparently deciding to avoid a race against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who currently has an approval rating of 55 percent.
.@NBCNews confirms the Politico report that Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., plans to run for Florida’s Senate seat that’s currently held by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who’s up for re-election in 2022 — @mmurraypolitics
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) May 18, 2021
Democrats are excited about Demings’s decision. While in the House she served as an impeachment manager of former President Donald Trump. She previously served as Orlando’s police chief. Demings’s husband, Jerry Demings (D), is the Mayor of Orange County, which encases Orlando.
CONFIRMED: @RepValDemings is strongly considering a Senate run. “Val is an impressive and formidable candidate, whose potential entrance would make the race against Rubio highly competitive,” a national Democrat with knowledge of the party’s strategy on Senate races tells me.
— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) May 18, 2021
Rep. Val Demings is the candidate Marco Rubio has to fear the most because she herself is FEARLESS.
— Grant Stern is fully vaccinated (@grantstern) May 18, 2021
Happy Tuesday to everyone who is THRILLED that Val Demings decided to thrash Marco Rubio and take his Senate seat in 2022.😃
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) May 18, 2021
But before Demings can challenge Rubio, she must win the Democrat primary race. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) surfaced Tuesday as a potential challenger to Demings.
Murphy, like Demings before today, faces a Florida State Republican-controlled redistricting effort this fall, potentially forcing her to seek higher office to avoid an intense contest for her seat.
Potential primary: Demings vs. Murphy https://t.co/tTfaXWIDFL
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 18, 2021
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) is also considering a bid for the Senate or Governorship.
Former Republican Governor, now-Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) has declared a gubernatorial challenge to DeSantis.