Florida Rep. Val Demings is planning to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022, Politico reports.
Demings, who served as an impeachment manager during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment and was on President Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president, decided to challenge Rubio after considering a gubernatorial run instead.
“I would’ve supported her running for governor, but this is the right fit for her and for us,” Alex Sink, a former top Florida official who lost her 2010 gubernatorial bid to Rick Scott, told Politico. “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.”
Sink recently met with Demings and activists on a Zoom call and said it was “clear that she and national Democrats felt she would represent the party’s best chance to put Republicans on defense as they try to take back the U.S. Senate.”
Demings, 64, has seen a quick rise since she was elected to the House in 2016.
Demings was the first Black woman police chief in Orlando and went on to be the only non-lawyer to serve on the first House impeachment committee. Biden considered her as a potential running mate in 2020.
A top Demings adviser drew a clear contrast between her and Rubio: “She’s the daughter of a maid and a janitor who became the first Black woman police chief in Orlando. He’s the son of a maid and a bartender who’s a career politician.”
Demings frustrated with McConnell:
Demings has been frustrated with the leadership of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis but ultimately decided she was more frustrated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “obstruction,” her adviser told Politico.
“If I had to point to one thing, I think it's the Covid bill and the way Republicans voted against it for no good reason,” the adviser said. “That really helped push her over the edge. She also had this huge fight with [Ohio Republican Rep.] Jim Jordan and it brought that into focus. This fight is in Washington and it’s the right fight for her to continue.”
Demings is expected to make a formal announcement next month.