Rep. Val Demings announced Wednesday she is running for U.S. Senate and in doing so will be attempting to oust Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who has served since 2011, from office.
With a win, Democrats would push the current 50-50 split in the Senate further in their favor. They have had a slight advantage since the elections of Georgia senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and Vice President Kamala Harris who would cast tie breaking votes.
A win would also make her the third Black woman to become a senator, after Carol Mosely Braun, who served from 1993 to 1999 and Harris, who was in the senate from 2017 until she joined the Biden White House. In her announcement, she emphasized her humble beginnings and determination to lead.
“When you grow up in the South poor, Black and female, you have to have faith in progress and opportunity,” said Demings in her three-minute-long campaign video, “My father was a janitor and my mother was a maid. She said, ‘Never tire of doing good, never tire.
“I’ve never tired of standing up for what I believe is right,” she continued. “Now I’m running for the United States Senate because of two simple words: never tire.”
She also targeted former president Donald Trump, calling him “lawless” and her opponent, Rubio as well.
“There are some in Washington who prefer the same old tired ways of doing business,” she said, according to the Associated Press, “too tired to fight the efforts to suppress the people’s vote. They fall back to tired talking points and backwards solutions.”
Rubio has already started attacking Demings. According to NBC News, he claimed she “has no record of results for Florida” and “has voted with Nancy Pelosi nearly 100% of the time” in Congress. He also attacked her as a “do nothing” member of the House and called her a “far left liberal Democrat.”
Demings has represented Orlando, Fla., in the House since 2017, From 2007 to 2011, she was the city’s first female police chief. Her focus was limiting crime and partnering with the community and the Orlando Police Department boasted a reduction in crime by more than 40 percent.
Demings was also an impeachment manager in the first Senate trial of former president Donald Trump last year.