Aug 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Val Demings wins Florida primary, teeing up November race against Rubio

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., speaks to the media at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, on June 27, 2022.

Rep. Val Demings speaks to the media at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on June 27. Photo: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) clinched the Democratic nomination on Tuesday in Florida's Senate primary, teeing up a general election battle between the congresswoman and incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R). The Associated Press called the race for Demings at 8pm ET.

The big picture: Demings, who was on President Biden's shortlist for vice president, was first elected to her Orlando-area seat in Congress in 2016, after serving as the city's first female police chief.

  • She won Tuesday's primary over immigration attorney William Sanchez, business owner Ricardo De La Fuente and former member of the Florida House of Representatives Brian Rush.

Flashback: Demings, 65, told Politico last year 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."

  • She officially announced her Senate campaign in June of 2021 with a promotional video that emphasized her "law and order" credentials.

What to watch: Rubio, seeking his third term in office, has won two elections in the battleground state, including one that followed a failed bid for the GOP's nomination for president in 2016.

  • Demings and Rubio have already attacked one other in advertisements and Demings so far has raised more than Rubio, which is rare for a sitting senator, NPR notes.

Go deeper... Val Demings launches Senate campaign with "law and order" message

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