Rep. Val Demings (D) has officially announced her candidacy for a Florida U.S. Senate seat after months of speculation. The former Orlando police chief took to Twitter to announce the news.

She will be facing off against Sen. Marco Rubio (R) who, in light of Demings’ impending announcement, went on Fox on Monday to begin his attacks on the Democrat. “None of them [Demings and other Democrats] will admit to being a socialist. She probably won’t. But she certainly has voted for socialist things.”

Demings quickly responded to these attacks saying, “I am not [a socialist].” “I have dedicated my life to public service. I spent the overwhelming majority of that time, 27 years, as a law enforcement officer. I served as the chief of police,” she said. “Desperate people will do and say desperate things. And I don’t blame Rubio and the GOP for being very concerned about me running for the United States Senate against Marco Rubio.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, has already accused Demings of being a “Pelosi puppet,” who is set on defunding the police. But it is Demings’ experience as a chief of police that gives Democrats hope that arguments such as these will not resonate with voters.

Demings has been especially critical of Rubio’s handling of the pandemic. “Marco Rubio voted against stimulus checks, he voted against COVID relief for our schools and our small businesses,” Demings said. “And he voted against helping those on the frontlines, our first responders or teachers, our health care workers.”

The election will be a challenge for Demings, as the state continues to trend in a more Republican direction. The GOP dominated the ballot in 2020, with Trump winning the state by 3 points.

Still, Deming’s experience and political prestige give hope to Democrats who want to increase their narrow majority in the Senate.

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