ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who represents Florida’s 10th congressional district, is “seriously considering” running for the U.S. Senate next year against Republican Marco Rubio, she tweeted Tuesday.
Demings, 64, the Orlando police chief from 2007 to 2011 and wife of Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, gained national recognition as a House prosecutor in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.
There’s also been speculation that Demings would run for governor, taking on Ron DeSantis. In considering a Senate campaign instead, she avoids what could be a divisive primary and gives Democrats a well-known name to compete in a state where elections are often decided by a narrow margin.
News 6 political analyst and UCF History Professor Dr. Jim Clark said seeking a Senate seat makes sense for Demings.
“Val is (64) years old she is number 258 in seniority in the house and I think she realizes that she’s going to be in her 80′s before she can really become a power in the House of Representatives, which is very seniority heavy,” Clark said. “So I think she’s looking to advance. A move to the Senate is probably the best bet she’s going to get.”
An adviser for Demings’ told News 6 that Demings will run against Rubio but said an official statement would not be released at this time.
Demings later tweeted, “I’m humbled at the encouraging messages I’m seeing (Tuesday). I know the stakes are too high for Republicans to stand in the way of getting things done for Floridians, which is why I’m seriously considering a run for the Senate. Stay tuned.”
I'm humbled at the encouraging messages I'm seeing today. I know the stakes are too high for Republicans to stand in the way of getting things done for Floridians, which is why I'm seriously considering a run for the Senate. Stay tuned.— Val Demings (@val_demings) May 18, 2021
Clark said beating Rubio will be difficult.
“The Democratic party in Florida is in disarray, they lost the senate seat — Bill Nelson two years ago, it was a terrible campaign — they also lost last year as you know in state senate races. The party is a disaster. And it’s going to be interesting to see if they can get their acts together,” Clark said. “Rubio is Cuban-American, his parents emigrated from Cuba, and he is well-positioned in the Cuban community, and has lots of support in the Venezuelan community in South Florida because of his tough stance on Venezuela socialist government there. Any Democrat has an uphill struggle.”
A Rubio representative later responded to the report, saying, “Democrats are tripping over themselves in a race to the left to find a candidate who will help advance Nancy Pelosi’s socialist agenda. Senator Rubio’s record of results for Florida is unmatched, from passing the bipartisan PPP program that saved millions of Florida jobs to providing critical tax relief for hard working families. While Democrats are flailing to find their next candidate to advance their radical agenda, Senator Rubio is focused on delivering wins for the people of Florida.”