May 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Val Demings to challenge Marco Rubio for Senate seat

a photo of Val Demings sitting at a dais.

Photo: Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) plans to run for the U.S. Senate to unseat Republican Marco Rubio next year, rather than pursue a run for governor, according to an adviser and another source familiar with her plans.

Why it matters: Demings' candidacy will place a household name — and one who was on President Biden's shortlist for vice president — on the ballot for Democrats. Rubio has won two elections in the battleground state, including one that followed a failed bid for the GOP's nomination for the presidency in 2016.

  • The 64-year-old Demings was first elected to her Orlando-area seat in Congress in 2016, after serving as the city's first female police chief.
  • She also served as a House manager during former President Trump's first impeachment, and currently sits on the House Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security committees.

Flashback: Demings told Politico in April that she "received so many calls and texts and emails," from people who think she should "run for statewide office and maybe challenge the governor, or challenge Sen. Rubio next year."

  • "I'm seriously considering a statewide run. And we'll see what happens," she said at the time.

Between the lines: "As a Black woman and law enforcement officer, her background made her uniquely situated to be a national Democratic spokesperson for policing and race issues," writes Politico, which first reported her candidacy.

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