U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday was cavalier about the chances of Rep. Val Demings as a likely 2022 Democratic Senate candidate.
“Oh, Rubio’s going to win,” Scott said of Florida’s Senior Senator, Marco Rubio, during a morning hit on Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade Show.
“First off, Marco’s done a really good job. He’s been up here ten years. He’s done a really good job. He represents the state. He really cares about the issues,” Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said.
“I don’t think anybody in Florida could run and beat him right now,” Scott said, not acknowledging the candidate being discussed at this point. “By the way, next year’s going to be a bloodbath for Democrats because (of) their policies.”
Scott went on a familiar rant from there against “socialism,” hitting other talking points. But his message was clear: the 2022 Senate campaign in Florida is officially on. Though Democrats have a Primary process ahead, Republicans are compelled to respond to Demings as if she is, if not the presumptive nominee, a good bet to emerge next August.
Demings will challenge Marco Rubio for his U.S. Senate in 2022 rather than run for Florida Governor, several sources familiar with her decision-making process tell Florida Politics.
“Over the last week, (there have been) serious conversations and enthusiasm from leadership about her candidacy,” said a top Democratic fundraiser who has been advising Demings. “Announcement coming in next couple weeks.”
Demings’ decision to run for the U.S. Senate was first reported by Marc Caputo of POLITICO.
While she is serving her third term in Congress in a district favorable to Democrats, redistricting could very well change those lines. Demings was on the short list of potential 2020 Vice Presidential candidates on the Joe Biden ticket, and what’s clear is that her national presence rattles Republicans and potentially changes the 2022 calculus for Rubio and Republicans.
As Demings becomes Scott’s problem in his role as architect of the Senate campaign push, the National Republican Congressional Committee has declared victory as she is out of the game on that side.
“Val Demings knows the House Democrats’ socialist agenda will doom their majority and is calling it quits,” asserted NRCC Spokeswoman Camille Gallo, in a statement likely drafted well in advance of the strategic leak of Demings’ 2022 plans.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.
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