Val Demings says she is exploring statewide race

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Demings says she's thankful for encouragement about a run.

Responding to increasing scuttlebutt that Rep. Val Demings is talking to people about a possible gubernatorial or U.S. Senate run in 2022, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the Orlando Democrat is exploring options.

“I am strongly considering a statewide race and grateful for the countless messages of support and encouragement that I have received from people in every part of Florida,” Demings said in a written statement to Florida Politics.

On Thursday a spokesperson offered a similar statement, saying Demings was exploring her options.

Both statements follows reports that Demings has been talking lately with donors, a potential campaign manager, a potential campaign finance director, digital campaign firms, and state lawmakers, about a possible gubernatorial campaign to challenge the reelection of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Demings also has been mentioned as a possible U.S. Senate candidate to challenge the 2022 reelection of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

That path seems to be taken right now by her Winter Park colleague, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

“Val Demings is the candidate Democrats need now,” said one top-rank Democratic fundraiser who has met with Demings to discuss a 2022 bid. “She is a force of nature, whose grit and passion has captured the national spotlight even getting her on the shortlist for VP. She is from the coveted I-4 corridor, has the power to rebuild the party and will unabashedly challenge DeSantis.”

Demings is coming off a two-year run in which her national standing has skyrocketed.

As a leading congressional critic of former President Donald Trump, she was a key player in his first impeachment, first in committee hearings, then as a House impeachment manager. As a former Orlando Police Chief, she has drawn attention as an insider’s advocate of law enforcement reform. Last summer she was being widely discussed as a potential running mate to now-President Joe Biden.

Just this week, she had yet another national media moment. On Tuesday she took on Republican firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in a way that both expressed Demings strong ties to law enforcement while also providing support for progressives’ desires for law enforcement reform. The exchange was widely replayed by national media and on social media.

“Her background as a police chief prepares her to talk about two of the most urgent issues facing the country: Systemic racism and police reform,” said a prominent Democratic lobbyist. “Her story has captured the imagination of America and she is the best shot for Democrats to win back the Governor’s Mansion.”

The latest nugget about Demings is that she has brought on Zack Carroll, who managed the 2020 South Carolina U.S.Senate campaign of now DNC Chair Jaime Harrison.

Demings is serving her third term in Congress in a safe district. She’s a former Orlando Police Chief. She is married to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, giving her a strong base of support in Central Florida.

He, too, has been prodded by some supporters to consider a gubernatorial run, though he has not been reported making any moves.

The field of Democrats considering taking on DeSantis in 2022 is thin and tentative so far, with no major Democratic candidates declaring yet.

Certainly, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tops the list of other Democrats. She has taken seemingly every opportunity to be the state’s leading DeSantis’ critic.

Others, including U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and state Sens. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee and Annette Taddeo of Miami have reportedly been exploring prospects as well.

Many Central Florida political observers expect that if Demings were to run for Governor, Bracy would run for her seat in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.

Redistricting is likely to significantly redraw that district, as well as Murphy’s adjacent Florida’s 7th Congressional District and also is likely to add a new Central Florida seat. So it’s unclear who might wind up in which district and which party might have advantages.

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 [email protected]


8 comments

  • trump lost

    April 23, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Moderate, experienced, in touch with minority needs, solid law enforcement background, strong leadership with proven success? Sign me up! The Demings are needed in Florida! (Preferably Jerry for gov./Val for Senate)

  • Evan Miller

    April 23, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Maybe she will finally find her missing service weapon that was stolen from her unlocked city vehicle.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    April 23, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Moderate? No such thing in the Democrat party. The revolutionaries have taken over and she’ll have to be one or be gon

    • Sylvie

      April 23, 2021 at 4:14 pm

      Republican Insurrectionist. We will never forget Jan. 6th!!

    • Richard Leonard

      May 5, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      I don’t think Democrats were the ones who stormed the Capital on 1/6/2021. Nor did Dems pass the Tax reform Act in 2017 that only benefited the very wealthy and corporations and has led to an added 2 trillion to the Federal deficit. Yeah, Dems are radical that’s for sure. How dare they try to do something for the working men and women of Florida. Wouldn’t want that, would we? Yeah, that’s socialism , right?

  • Concerned citizen

    April 23, 2021 at 10:50 am

    She is delusional. All she would have is a campaign of taking the state backwards. She is a party hack who has over played her importance more than once. I don’t want our state to go backwards and adopt the lunatic lefts agenda’s. She would spiral this State into a collapse like NY

  • Mike

    April 23, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    This woman is a disgrace to the office she currently holds. She is in bed with the phony BLM criminals, and is a believer in systemic racism. She is interested only in the welfare of herself, like charlatan “leaders” she serves. I hope she runs against our Governor. He is the best in the Country, and has done everything right. Bring it on!

  • James R. Miles

    April 25, 2021 at 8:17 am

    ANYBODY but DeSatan 2022, the worst governor in Florida history. A racist lunatic Trump butt-kisser!!

Comments are closed.


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