EMILYs List backs Demings in Florida Senate race

June 10, 2021

Politico:  EMILY's List backs Demings in Florida Senate race

By: James Arkin

EMILY's List endorsed Rep. Val Demings' Senate campaign Thursday, giving the Florida Democrat a major boost the day after she officially launched her bid to take on incumbent GOP Sen. Marco Rubio.

Demings, a former police chief and three-term Orlando-area member of Congress, has already received widespread support for the Senate run against Rubio, although she'll still have to win a Democratic primary to face him.

Florida is an uphill climb for Democrats after former President Donald Trump carried the state twice, and Republicans won the last two Senate races in 2016 and 2018. But Democrats are hopeful that Demings, a rising star in the party who was considered a potential vice presidential pick, will put the massive state in play.

In the endorsement, Emily Cain, the group's executive director, touted Demings' background as a former social worker and police officer.

“She was first elected to Congress in 2016 and has since been a leader on issues including criminal justice, economic equality, and gender discrimination. We know that her hard work will only continue as a U.S. senator,” Cain said in the statement, which was shared first with POLITICO. “Florida’s women and families have been abandoned by their senators in favor of an extreme, partisan agenda. We are confident that Val Demings will always prioritize people over politics and will better the lives of Floridians.”

Rubio, who is seeking a third term, is one of just two vulnerable Republican incumbents facing competitive reelections after five GOP senators have decided to retire. His reelection is critical for Republicans to have a shot at flipping Democrats' 50-50 Senate majority.

Demings is the second challenger EMILY's List has endorsed ahead of 2022: It also backed Cheri Beasley in North Carolina. The early endorsements of two prominent Black women underscores the party's effort to back more candidates of color. EMILY's List supports pro-abortion-rights Democratic women for office.

Collective PAC, which backs Black candidates, endorsed Demings before her bid was even official, and Higher Heights for America PAC, which is dedicated to backing Black women, endorsed Demings Wednesday, minutes after her announcement.