Washington — Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings formally launched her Senate campaign to challenge Republican Senator Marco Rubio in Florida on Wednesday, after months of speculation about her plans. Rubio is up for reelection next year.
The Florida Democrat announced her campaign in a three-minute video released on Wednesday morning, describing her upbringing as the inspiration for her "tireless faith of that things will get better," and highlighting her experience as the first female chief of police for the Orlando Police Department.
"When you grow up in the South poor, Black and female, you have to have faith in progress and opportunity," Demings explained in the video. She said that her mother, a maid, told her to "never grow tired of doing good."
Demings criticized Rubio as "too tired to fight the efforts to suppress the people's vote," referring to the recent law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantisFlorida's election processes. She argued that Rubio was the kind of politician to "fall back to tired talking points and backward solutions."
"I've never tired of standing up for what I believe is right," Demings said. "Now I'm running for the United States Senate because of two simple words: never tire."
In a video statement posted to Twitter, Rubio criticized Demings as a "do-nothing House member with not a single significant legislative achievement from her time in Congress." Rubio said that Demings voted with "socialist Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time," and said she was ideologically close to "the marxist Squad," referring to a group of progressive House members.
"In the weeks ahead, the voters of Florida are going to be reminded of my significant and common sense achievements, and they're also going to learn more about how ineffective and far left and extremist the real Val Demings is when she's in Washington," Rubio said.
Demings has served in the House since 2017, and was chief of Orlando's police department from 2011 to 2017. CBS News reported in May that she was.
Demings received national attention as an impeachment manager during the first impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump. There are currently no Black women in the Senate, after Vice President Kamala Harris resigned from her California seat to join the Biden administration.