October 5, 2023

Congressman Val Demings (D-FL) speaks during a subcommittee hearing of the House Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on “Online Platforms and Market Power” at the Rayburn House office building on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 29th, 2020 .

Graeme Jennings | Pool via Reuters

Democratic MP Val Demings plans to launch a Senate lawsuit against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio next year, a National Democrat with knowledge of the party’s strategy regarding Senate races told CNBC.

Demings had previously confirmed that she was considering an offer for higher office in Florida. She had not ruled out the opportunity to challenge Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

Their decision to seek a seat in the Senate instead comes from the fact that the Democrats are trying to defend their wafer-thin majority in the chamber from Republicans who want to regain the power of Congress that they lost in the 2020 election.

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Politico, who first covered Deming’s plans, said the Democrat still had little room to change course but plans to make her final decision on the race as early as next month.

In the 2020 election, Demings was seen as a top contender on the list of potential vice-presidents for then-candidate Joe Biden.

A third time a member of Congress, 64-year-old Demings became the first black woman to serve as police chief in Orlando. She was also the impeachment manager in the first Senate trial of former President Donald Trump.

“Val is a formidable and formidable candidate whose potential entry would make the race against Rubio very competitive,” said the Democratic source.

Trump was acquitted in the GOP Senate for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Biden eventually chose former California Senator Kamala Harris as his runner-up.

The 49-year-old Rubio has already announced that he is aiming for a third term in the Senate in 2022. Political analysts believe that his seat will likely remain in Republican hands.

A Rubio spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on Demings’ plans.

Florida, long a crucial battleground in presidential elections, has become a Republican stronghold in recent years. The state now has two Republican senators and a Republican governor, and in 2020 it voted Trump over Biden.

Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a comprehensive electoral law that critics say will suppress voter turnout and disproportionately affect certain sections of the population.

A spokesman for Rubio’s campaign, without mentioning Demings, told CNBC that Democrats “trip left over themselves in a race” when looking for a candidate.

“Senator Rubio’s results for Florida are unmatched, from the passing of the non-partisan PPP program that saved millions of jobs in Florida to critical tax breaks for hard-working families,” the spokesman said.