Florida Rep. Val Demings is making a chess move in order to solidify a political future in the state with plans to announce a bid for U.S. Senate, directly challenging Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.
Demings is expected to formally announce her Senate run in the next coming weeks, according to a source who spoke with POLITICO. Prior to, Demings was expected to launch a bid in the Florida gubernatorial race, but is now refocusing her efforts to help strengthen a Democrat majority in the Senate if she were to win.
Earlier this week, Demings tweeted an article focused on Rubio’s hypocritical flip-flopping, by waging support for Trump.
“Leadership matters. Florida can do better,” Demings wrote, alluding to her future plans.
According to one of Demings’ top advisors who spoke with POLITICO, the Florida congresswoman has become increasingly frustrated with Florida Republican leadership, headed by Governor Ron DeSantis, along with Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The aftermath of Trump’s presidency, the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, along with the Republican party’s dismissal of Sen. Liz Cheney from leadership ranks has severely deteriorated the reputation of the party.
Demings, 64, was elected in 2016 after becoming the first Black woman to head Orlando’s police department. Demings became a police officer in 1983 and rose through the ranks after initially beginning a career as a social worker. Prior to winning a congressional seat in 2016, Demings launched two unsuccessful campaigns in 2012 and 2014.
“Electing a Black woman to the US Senate this cycle is a top organizational priority and we are proud to stand with Val Demings,” Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James, the co-founders of The Collective Pac told CNN. The organization was founded to help Black candidates win their respective campaigns. “There has never been a more crucial time for us to elect leaders who are committed to criminal justice reform, safeguarding voting rights and ensuring government officials are held accountable for unethical behavior.”
Demings is also supported by Heigher Heights For America, a group which seeks to help Black women secure political office in local and federal elections.
In the House her national prominence began to rise once she was selected to serve on the House impeachment committee against Donald Trump, making her the only non-lawyer amongst the group. Shortly after, she was named as one of President Joe Biden‘s shortlist running mate nominees , before he formally selected Vice President Kamala Harris.
If Demings launches a campaign, she may face opposition from three Orlando based Democrats including her colleague Rep. Stephanie Murphy, former Rep. Alan Grayson and former prosecutor Aramis Ayala, who became a national figure after she was racially profiled during a traffic stop. Ayala was also