Florida US Senate 2022 Race Matchup: Republican Marco Rubio vs Democrat Val Demings

By Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Reporter
Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: patricia.tolson@epochtimes.us
March 10, 2022 Updated: June 7, 2022

In what is anticipated to be one of the most contentious, closely watched, and most expensive Senate midterm election matchups, incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will face Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) in Florida’s 2022 general election. Florida’s primary is scheduled for Aug. 23 and the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 23, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Marco Rubio (Incumbent)

Marco Rubio is currently serving as a United States Senator for the State of Florida.

Background

Rubio was born in Miami, Florida, one of the four children of Cuban immigrants who came to America in 1956. He began his political career as a city commissioner for West Miami before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives (2000 to 2008) where he served as speaker in November 2006. Rubio was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010, filling the seat left by retiring Republican incumbent Mel Martinez. In the general election, Rubio defeated Democrat Kendrick Meek and Gov. Charlie Crist (a Republican turned independent).

In April 2015, Rubio announced his bid for president of the United States, saying he would not seek reelection to his Senate seat in 2016. However, as candidate Donald Trump took a decisive lead in the polls, Rubio dropped out of the presidential election in March 2016. In June 2016, he announced he would seek reelection to his Senate seat, which he won with 52 percent of the vote.

Committees:

Senate Appropriations Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Small Business and Entrepreneurship (former chair)

Special Committee on Aging

Caucuses:

Senate Climate Solutions Caucus

On the Issues

Education:

Strongly favors vouchers for school choice.

Wants to end the Department of Education.

In July 2021, Rubio, Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced the Protecting Students From Racial Hostility Act (pdf), which would direct the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to investigate parent and/or student complaints against the use of curriculum such as critical race theory.

Abortion:

Favors a ban on abortion after 20 weeks.

Favors overturning Roe v. Wade.

Strongly opposes abortion as a woman’s unrestricted right.

Opposes federal funding for abortions.

Economy:

Supports balanced budget amendment.

Opposes increasing the debt limit.

Opposes government-funded stimulus.

Supports a balance of both a market-driven economy while also creating national priorities for industries and support for them.

Climate Change:

Believes climate change is a reality but not man-made.

Guns:

Favors the absolute right to gun ownership.

Opposes restrictions on the right to bear arms and believes the Second Amendment is a cornerstone of American democracy.

Favors bans on ban bump stocks and additional background checks. He said limiting magazine size would have saved lives in the Parkland shooting, but voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Immigration:

Opposes amnesty for illegal aliens in any form.

Opposes citizenship for children of illegal aliens.

Pathway to Citizenship:

Position unclear; as a Florida House Representative running for Senate 2010, Rubio said “an earned path to citizenship” for illegal aliens was nothing more than a “code for amnesty.” However, when asked if he supported a pathway to citizenship in 2015, then-Senator Rubio said, “I do.” Then, as a presidential candidate in 2015, Rubio said he would implement policies and then wait to have a debate on their effectiveness in 10–12 years. When asked again if he supported a pathway to citizenship in 2016, Rubio said “The question about ‘Whether you give citizenship to people’ is not a yes or no answer.”

Jobs:

Opposes raising the minimum wage.

Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act (equal pay for women).

Opposes laws requiring businesses to hire women and minorities.

Same-Sex Marriage:

Strongly opposes same-sex marriage.

Opposes gay adoption.

Taxes:

Strongly opposes increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Energy:

Supports safe drilling.

Supports Keystone Pipeline.

Opposes prioritizing green energy.

Controversies:

During a June 9, 2021 interview conducted at his desk in the Russell Senate Office Building, Rubio attacked Demings’s voting record and labeled her as a “do nothing Democrat.” The Senate Ethics Committee Manual (pdf) explicitly states, “Senate space may not be used for any political campaign.”

val demings
In a screenshot taken from a Senate Television webcast, House manager Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) speaks during impeachment proceedings against then-President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 3, 2020. (Senate Television via Getty Images)

Val Demings

Val Demings is currently a member of the U.S. House, representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District. She assumed office on Jan. 3, 2017, and her current term ends on Jan. 3, 2023.

Demings announced June 9, 2021, she is challenging incumbent Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Background

Demings was born in 1957 in Jacksonville, Florida. She received a bachelor’s in criminology from Florida State University and a master’s in public administration from Webster University. After graduating from college, Demings became a social worker. In the early 1980s, Demings graduated from a police academy and joined the Orlando Police Department where she served for nearly three decades. From 2007 to 2012, she served as Orlando’s first female chief of police.

Demings was first elected to the U.S. House, representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District, in 2016. During her time in Congress, Demings has served on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In 2020, Demings was named one of seven impeachment managers in the U.S. Senate trial against President Donald Trump.

Committees and Caucuses

U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness

Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support

U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary

Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security (Vice Chair)

Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law

U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security

Congressional Black Caucus

New Democrat Coalition

Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues

Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls

Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus

House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (Vice Chair)

Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus

Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus

Law Enforcement Caucus

Congressional Florida Ports Caucus

On the Issues

Education:

Opposes vouchers for school choice.

Supports teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools.

Abortion:

Strongly favors abortion as a woman’s unrestricted right.

Strongly supports Roe v. Wade.

Strongly supports public funding for abortion services.

Voted against an amendment that would prohibit federal funds from being used for abortions.

Economy:

Supports federal stimulus spending to promote economic growth rather than market-led recovery.

Voted against a bill that would require Congress to pass a balanced budget.

Voted for the $900 billion COVID relief package.

Climate Change:

Believes “climate change is real, it’s dangerous, and we need to do something about it.” Also believes extreme weather is caused by climate change.

Guns:

Supports restrictions on the right to bear arms.

Demings was one of eight Florida House Democrats who introduced an omnibus gun control bill in May 2021 aimed at “ghost guns,” “concealable assault rifles,” bump stocks, and background checks.

Strongly supports a ban on “assault weapons.”

In 2009, then Orlando Police Chief Val Demings received a “written censure” as punishment for not properly securing her gun in her car after someone broke into her Chevy Tahoe on the night of Feb. 27 and stole a duffel bag she had placed on the floor of the vehicle. The bag contained her agency-issued 9mm Sig Sauer gun and ammunition.

Immigration:

Opposes requiring illegals to return to their country of origin.

Supports citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, free health care for illegal immigrants, government funding for sanctuary cities, and opposes a border wall.

Pathway to Citizenship:

In 2021, Demings was among a group of Democrats who proposed adding an immigration reform measure to the $1.9 trillion social spending bill passed by the House that would include a pathway to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status immigrants.

Jobs:

Supports government-mandated diversity hiring practices for media and police departments.

Supports government mandated $15/hour minimum wage.

Same-Sex Marriage:

Strongly comfortable with same-sex marriage.

Supports adoption for gay couples.

Taxes:

Strongly favors higher taxes on the wealthy, supports increasing income tax rates, and supports tax increases to balance the budget.

Energy:

Voted to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

Supports federally developing renewable energy and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Strongly supports making green energy a priority.

Controversies:

In February, the bipartisan House Communications Standard Commission opened an investigation following a complaint that Demings allegedly misused campaign funds when she sent a 12-page, campaign-style mailer to Floridians outside her district. However, Democratic leadership in the House has now shut down the investigation.

Polling Data

Real Clear Politics shows Rubio has a comfortable lead of +9 in a polling average as of March 10.

Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: patricia.tolson@epochtimes.us