Florida politics and Sunburn — perfect together.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings all but confirmed she’s running for U.S. Senate in 2022.
While Demings, an Orlando Democrat, is certainly a high-caliber candidate for voters eager to oust U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, but she’s not the only potential candidate looking for the Democratic nomination.
Another Central Florida congresswoman, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, has been positioning herself for a Senate run for months. Some have speculated that Murphy would back down if Demings entered the race, but that’s not so, according to a source familiar with Murphy’s decision-making.
Murphy, who represents Florida’s 7th Congressional District, does have some advantages to flex if she finds herself up against Demings. Namely, she’s already proved she can knock a longtime incumbent Republican out of office — and hang onto the same tough swing seat cycle after cycle.
A potential Murphy campaign would hammer the battle-tested narrative, noting that with the current 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate, it’s not time to nominate someone who hasn’t proved they can come out on top in a tough election.
Another separator, the source says, is Murphy’s Spanish language skills, which make her uniquely suited to push back on socialism charges and challenge Rubio in South Florida.
Murphy is also one of the most effective, bipartisan members of Congress, which could make her more appealing than Demings to General Election voters.
“Stephanie Murphy has never lost a race, despite representing one of the most competitive seats in the country,” Lauren Calmet, a spokesperson for Murphy, told Florida Politics. “She is an effective legislator, a proven fundraiser, and exactly the type of person who can beat Marco Rubio. Should she decide to run for the US Senate, she will win.”
In addition to Demings and Murphy, the Democratic primary could include former State Attorney Aramis Ayala and former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, both of whom also hail from Central Florida.
The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit is happening today in Sarasota.
The event will center on the 10 areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are the 10 root causes of generational poverty: jobs, education, housing, health, food, safety, child care, justice, transportation and agency-community voice.
Topics on the agenda include the fight for equality of opportunity, policy solutions that aid prosperity, the economic and business case for prosperity, tried and true promising practices across Florida’s business community and how Florida businesses can unite to create prosperity in their ZIP codes, among others.
Speakers will include Florida Department of Education Chancellor Henry Mack, CFO Jimmy Patronis, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Principal Adviser Brittany Birken, CareerSource Florida CEO Michelle Dennard, Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle, Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell and Feeding Florida Executive Director Robin Safley.
The full agenda and registration information are available online.