Everywhere she goes these days, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) is being told that she should consider leaving the House of Representatives and running for higher office. Some suggest she should see to be the next governor of Florida while others think she needs to run against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is seeking another term in the Senate next year.
Will Demings — who is widely seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party — jump into one of those 2022 races? It sounds like she might, based on what she recently told Politico:
“I’ve received so many calls and texts and emails, and have been stopped when I’m out and about by people who are asking me that very same question. Matter of fact, they think I should run for statewide office and maybe challenge the governor, or challenge Sen. Rubio next year. I’m seriously considering a statewide run. And we’ll see what happens.”
If she does decide to run, Demings would be a formidable opponent for any incumbent. As the former police chief in Orlando and one of the House impeachment managers, her name often came up as a possible running mate for President Joe Biden, who instead chose former Sen. Kamala Harris of California. But that has only raised the stock of the congresswoman, who gained more national attention this week when she verbally slapped down Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during a House hearing:
“I have the floor, Mr. Jordan! What? Did I strike a nerve! Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns! You and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves! Mr. Jordan, you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. You know nothing about what law enforcement officers do.”
Fernand Amandi, a pollster and Democratic consultant from Florida, believes that Demings is ready for primetime:
“Val Demings has proven she can stand on the national stage, whether it’s as a House impeachment manager or a possible running mate for Biden or taking on Jim Jordan.”
Amandi also notes that Republicans will be hard-pressed to paint Demings as some sort of “radical socialist” the way DeSantis did with his Democratic challenger, Andrew Gillium, in 2018.
But Florida remains a challenging state for Democrats:
“Even the most optimistic Florida Democrat knows that a statewide campaign in Florida will be difficult in 2022. In midterm elections, Democratic base voters have historically had weaker turnout than Republicans. Also, the party that controls the White House typically fares poorly in midterms, giving the GOP an additional advantage next year.
“Incumbents are also notoriously difficult to unseat in the state, and DeSantis has strong support from his base as he becomes a national GOP figure. For his part, Rubio is seen as a tough-to-beat general election candidate.”
Despite that, counting out Demings would be a big mistake, and she appears poised for bigger and better things.
Featured Image Via NBC News