Florida Democratic Rep. Val B. Demings, a former police chief whose profile grew as an impeachment prosecutor, is planning to run for Senate against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a Demings adviser confirmed Tuesday.
The adviser said a formal announcement was coming soon. Demings had been weighing a run for governor or Senate, and recently told CQ Roll Call she would not wait for the state’s new congressional map to make her decision. Her plans to run for Senate were first reported by Politico.
A national Democratic operative with knowledge of the party’s strategy on Senate races also confirmed that she was strongly considering a run for Senate.
“Val is an impressive and formidable candidate whose potential entrance would make the race against Rubio highly competitive,” the operative said.
Florida is one of eight states that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as Senate battlegrounds in 2022, with Democrats looking to expand their razor-thin majority. Former President Donald Trump carried the state by 3 percentage points in 2020, and Rubio won a second term in 2016 by 8 points.
Demings was first elected in 2016 to represent the 10th District, which includes part of Orlando. She served as one of the House managers presenting the case for Trump’s first impeachment in 2020, and was also vetted to be President Joe Biden’s potential running mate.
Demings was quickly endorsed Tuesday morning by the Collective PAC, which supports Black candidates.
“Electing a Black woman to the U.S. Senate this cycle is a top organizational priority and we are proud to stand with Val Demings — a dedicated public servant who has spent her career on the front lines improving communities and protecting Floridians,” Collective PAC co-founders Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James said in a statement.
But Demings will likely not have the Democratic primary to herself. Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a leader of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, is also considering a Senate run. Liberal former Rep. Alan Grayson recently told CQ Roll Call he was also leaning toward a Senate run and would announce his decision in the next few weeks.
Democrat Aramis Ayala also announced recently that she is considering running against Rubio. While in office as the first Black state attorney in Florida, Ayala clashed with then-Gov. Rick Scott after she refused to seek the death penalty in capital cases.