- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Rep. Val Demings, Florida Democrat, is finalizing plans to challenge Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022 instead of running for governor, according to a Tuesday report.

Politico, which broke the news, said the 64-year-old left some wiggle room to change course but is almost certain to take on Mr. Rubio, a Republican who will be seeking a third term. The congresswoman is expected to make a final decision by next month.

Ms. Demings was elected to the House in 2016 after serving as Orlando’s first Black woman police chief.

She rose to prominence as an impeachment manager against former President Donald Trump and made it to President Biden’s short list for vice president.

About 17% of the state’s registered voters are Hispanic and 14% are Black, according to Politico, which says advisers think Ms. Demings is well-positioned to distinguish herself from Mr. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants. She and Mr. Rubio come from similar humble backgrounds, the thinking goes, but she became a police chief while he became a “career politician.”

Ms. Demings recently garnered attention for criticizing Republican members from a committee dais, saying they only support police when it suits them.

The congresswoman, who had flirted with a run against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, took aim this week at Mr. Rubio‘s wavering stance toward Mr. Trump.

“A great example of a flip-flopper is when a Senator says that the former President ‘would shatter the party and the conservative movement’ and then raves he ‘was lucky enough to be one of his first posts’ in a fundraising email,” she tweeted Friday, referring to a pitch from Mr. Rubio that highlighted Mr. Trump’s new blog.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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