Trio of Central Florida Democrats pushed for Joe Biden administration

Stephanie Murphy, Val Demings, Chris King
Stephanie Murphy, Val Demings, Chris King, not to mention Bill Nelson.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings and former Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Chris King all are being discussed for spots in President-elect Joe Biden‘s administration.

For now, it’s largely a grassroots draft movement, amplified by supporters of the trio of Central Florida Democrats, led by various local political leaders such as former Rep. Dick Batchelor, and former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin.

Chapin said she is hearing from sources that Biden’s transition team is considering Murphy for some sort of National Security Council post.

Batchelor has been touting Demings for weeks for Secretary of Homeland Security. He said Monday that he thinks the effort is gaining traction.

Chapin said she and others also seek to drum up support for King as a possibility for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Other Central Florida Democratic leaders reportedly also are making calls for them.

Another Central Florida Democrat whose name is being bandied about — as he is certainly at least advising his close, old friend Biden — is former Sen. Bill Nelson.

Spokesmen for Murphy and Demings declined to comment on their prospects. Murphy’s communications director Jonathan Uriarte said, “Congresswoman Murphy is focused on her current job in Congress and will continue to bridge the partisan divide while helping the Biden Administration create a safer, more prosperous country for all Americans.”

King’s spokesman Ben Friedman said he is “honored to have folks from all walks of life strongly encouraging him to stay active in public service, whatever form that may take.”

Nelson also declined to comment.

Demings is a former career cop who rose through the ranks to become Orlando Police Chief before she ran for Congress. In Congress, she has been front-and-and center on homeland security issues through her seats on the Homeland Security, Judiciary, and Intelligence committees. That background also helped make her one of the top candidates considered to be Biden’s running mate, though he picked Sen. Kamala Harris of California, now Vice President-elect.

Murphy’s professional background was largely in national security as an analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense before she ran for Congress in 2016. She has taken prominent roles in national security discussions and legislative efforts in Congress.

King is a business owner in the housing business. His company develops and manages affordable housing and senior housing. He made housing a centerpiece of his 2018 gubernatorial campaign. Biden campaigned with King and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum in that 2018 run.

Politically, Demings or King might be the most available, should Biden have any interest.

Demings’ 10th Congressional District is safe for Democrats, if a Special Election was required to replace her. Several names already had been mentioned this year as possible replacements when she was under consideration last spring and summer for Biden’s running mate. They include her husband, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and state Sen. Randolph Bracy.

King has no elected office to protect, though he is frequently mentioned as a potential future candidate.

Like Demings, Murphy just comfortably won reelection to a third term. However, no one believes her popularity in Florida’s 7th Congressional District could automatically translate into a win for some other Democrat in her stead. Should she get tapped, though, King would be among top Democratic prospects to replace her.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.


2 comments

  • Jim Donelon

    November 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    The slim majority in the House should preclude any member from being considered.. As for King, we don’t need a slumlord in Housing.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 10, 2020 at 8:13 am

    In between contribute time and money to elect two Democrat Senators from
    Georgia! Shut down that criminal Moscow Mitch! Vote Democrat for the common good!

Comments are closed.


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