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Val Demings Officially Announces Senate Bid to take on Marco Rubio

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Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Orlando has officially thrown in her bid for U.S. Senate, looking to take Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat.

What We Know:

  • Demings, the daughter of a maid and janitor, was Orlando’s first female chief of police. While in office, she reduced crime by 40% and handled the Airport Division’s response on 9/11. Demings also served as former President Donald Trump’s Impeachment Manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial and was running to be President Joe Biden’s VP.
  • Rubio is running for his third term as Senator and has already received Trump’s endorsement, yet according to CNN, his seat is one of the 10 that is likely to flip in the 2022 midterm elections. However, Republicans are confident that they will hold onto the Senate seat, as the last time a Democrat won the seat was in 2012.
  • Demings has stated that she is up for the fight against Rubio, voicing that, “I know how to get through tough times, and I think we would all agree that we’re in some really tough, unusual times right now.” Her bid gives Democrats a “high-profile” candidate in a race that could see a shift of power in the Senate, currently sitting at a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.

  • Since Demings’ announcement, Republicans have claimed that she is a “Nancy Pelosi puppet” and a socialist. In an interview with Fox News, Rubio stated, “how can you vote with ‘the squad’ 94% of the time and argue that you’re not an honorary member of that group? How can you vote with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time and argue that you’re not a far-left, liberal extremist?”
  • Mark Morgan, Rubio’s campaign manager, has claimed that Demings has no chance of winning because she doesn’t have a record of results in Florida. He called out her support of defunding the police and opposing tax relief for working families. Rubio’s campaign plans on focusing on what he has accomplished since 2016, such as the “Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses during COVID-19, and efforts to double the child tax credit in Trump’s 2017 tax bill.”
  • Demings has denied any socialist allegations, crediting her time in law enforcement. She has also brought up Rubio’s campaign flaws, criticizing his votes against stimulus checks, COVID relief packages for schools and small businesses, and assisting those on the frontline. Demings focuses on police reform, protecting voting and LGBTQIA+ rights, and receiving equal pay for equal work. She understands that her party has its problems but promises to stand up for what she believes in. And unlike her opponent, she won’t “fall back to tired talking points and backward solutions.”

“We [have to] work to improve the criminal justice system and hold the police departments accountable. We have to deal with those social ills that cause decay in communities in the first place….get more serious about dealing with mental illness, drug addiction, poverty and homelessness, and substandard education and housing,” said Demings.

Democratic Senate candidates who Demings could face in the primaries include Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, progressive candidate Joshua Weil, former Democratic House candidate Allen Ellison, and former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson. Senate elections will be held on November 8, 2022.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

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