Governor Bid or Senate Run? Val Demings Has Made Her Choice

Democratic congresswoman from Florida will take on Marco Rubio for a Senate seat
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2021 11:42 AM CDT
Val Demings to Take on Marco Rubio for Senate Seat
In this July 29, 2020, file photo, Rep. Val Demings speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

Joe Biden may not have picked Val Demings to be his running mate, but the Florida congresswoman still looks to have high political aspirations. Democratic sources tell Politico and Axios that the Florida congresswoman will take on GOP Sen. Marco Rubio for his seat in the US Senate, after months of deliberating over whether to go for that job or to try to wrest the Florida governorship from Republican Ron DeSantis. Axios notes that Demings' entry into the race adds a well-known name, as the 64-year-old was the first female police chief of Orlando, as well as a prominent House manager during former President Trump's first impeachment. Demings also holds a seat on the House Judiciary, Intelligence, and Homeland Security committees.

On Tuesday morning, Demings took to Twitter to suggest the shift in her plans, noting on her @RepValDemings account that for her "campaign Twitter," people should follow the separate @Val_Demings account. Although her run against Rubio won't be an easy one—the incumbent has won two general elections in his state already, and he holds some sway with Florida's Hispanic population—she's an "impressive and formidable candidate," a Democrat with knowledge of the party's strategy tells Politico. Her eyeing of the Senate seat appears to have gained favor as she became increasingly frustrated over the "obstruction" of GOP senators, a top adviser to Demings tells the site, which notes her decision is expected to be finalized as early as next month. "I would've supported her running for governor, but this is the right fit for her and for us," says Alex Sink, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Florida in 2010. (Read more Val Demings stories.)

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