decision 2022

Rep. Val Demings Visits Little Havana Amid Race for Senate Seat

The Orlando-area congresswoman has to pile up a lead in South Florida if she has any chance to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio

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As it gets closer to the primary elections, Rep. Val Demings (D) spent Tuesday in Little Havana as she vies for Sen. Marco Rubio's seat.

The Orlando-area congresswoman has to pile up a lead in South Florida if she has any chance to win. Demings said can relate to the Cuban experience because of the way she grew up with little resources in northern Florida.

Politically, some may ask why she would come to such a Republican stronghold.

“As a United States Senator, it is my responsibility to make sure that I represent all people," Demings said. "We should not pick and chose winners and losers based on our ethnic background, or where we live, or how much money we have."

Demings would need to get her hands on every vote she can in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

A statewide map from NBC News, most of the counties in Florida voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election. Florida's metropolitan urban areas — South Florida, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Orlando — voted Democrat.

Demings' time as the Orlando Police Chief and now as an Orlando-area congresswoman may give her greater reach in more central Florida counties.  

“She’s from Central Florida, so she’s not as well known in these parts. So, that’s why she’s spending time here,” said NBC 6 political analyst Carlos Curbelo. “She is the type of Democrat that didn’t have the weaknesses that some Democrats have when it comes to this issue of crime and security. They liked her law enforcement background. They like the contrast with Rubio. They like the fact that she’s a minority."

At the top of the list for Demings and Rubio is inflation and voters paying their bills.

“They are worried about keeping a roof over their head and food on the table," Demings said. "They are concerned about the price of gas and price of goods and services. I know what that concern feels like.”

In a video posted on Twitter, Rubio stated, “The numbers came out and our economy has shrunk for two quarters in a row. The first half of this year, the American economy shrunk. What’s happened is what we knew would happen. We are now in a Biden recession.”

Rubio and Demings are expected to glide through the primaries later this month.

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