By: Alyssa Wilson
Florida Representative Val Demings is running for U. S. Senate, taking on incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio, according to several Democrats. This announcement comes months after Demings considered multiple state positions including governor, Politico reported.
Alex Sink, Florida’s former Chief Financial Officer, said she supports Demings in her run. “I would’ve supported her running for governor, but this is the right fit for her and for us,” Sink said. “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.”
Demings was Orlando’s first Black woman police chief, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016. The 64-year-old was the only non-lawyer to serve on the House impeachment committee responsible for charging former President Donald Trump.
She was also on a shortlist of potential candidates for Vice President before President Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Demings’ supporters acknowledge beating Rubio will not be an easy victory. Florida, a critical battleground state in presidential elections, has a Republican stronghold with two Republican senators and a Republican governor, CNBC reported.
On May 6, Governor DeSantis signed an elections bill into law that restricts voting access. While Republicans say it will protect against fraud, echoing false claims by Trump that the election was stolen, Democrats say the legislation will make it harder for some to vote.
Immediately after it was passed, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Disability Rights Florida and Common Cause filed lawsuits. They say the bill violates constitutional protections in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Demings has not yet publicly announced her run for Senate, and her team will have to work hard to engage Black voters at the polls. “If we don’t register our voters and get them out, we’re not going to win,” Sink said.