Stephanie Murphy undeterred by Val Demings’ Senate bid
Stephanie Murphy is backing off a Senate run in 2022.

Demings may scare off some candidates. Murphy isn't one of them.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings decision to run for U.S. Senate next year may scare off some candidates, but U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy is not one of them.

While Demings is certainly a high-caliber candidate for Democrats to rally behind as they seek to boot Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio from office. However, sources familiar with Murphy’s decision-making say the Central Florida Democrat believes she has the same upsides as Demings — and more.

Murphy has been positioning herself for a statewide run for months. While Demings had until recently been considered a potential gubernatorial candidate, Murphy’s has been speculated to run for the U.S. Senate from the jump.

Many onlookers, however, added a caveat: If Demings entered the race, Murphy would not.

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, are Murphy’s Spanish language skills, which make her uniquely suited to counter a narrative common in Hispanic communities that Democrats would turn the United States into a “socialist” country.

She also could point to her status as one of the most effective, bipartisan members of Congress. Murphy is a Co-Chair of the House Blue Dog Coalition, which is comprised of centrist Democrats. She has also fared well in numerous effectiveness rankings. The Center for Effective Lawmaking rated her as the No. 26 most effective Representative in the 115th Congress. Demings ranked No. 103.

Murphy could use that to pitch herself as a more steady handed lawmaker who would better appeal 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 U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who also hails from Central Florida. Former State Attorney Aramis Ayala had been rumored as a potential candidate, but she has since hinted she will run for Demings’ U.S. House seat.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Evan Miller

    May 20, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Val Demmings needs to find her service weapon that was stolen from her unlocked city vehicle.

  • Marla Hughes

    May 20, 2021 at 8:22 am

    I will be voting for Rubio in spite of his support of Trump because he best represents my ideology over any Democrat but IMO Murphy would pull me farther away from Rubio than Demings, although I greatly admire Demings from her career arc and how she handles hearings and questioning.
    Just being honest. Democrats made a huge mistake in not choosing Gwen Graham to run against DeSantis (who I support). They would be wise to avoid making that same mistake again.

  • FLVet21

    May 21, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    While I have concerns regarding whether non-minority Floridians will be able to swallow their thinly veiled biases to vote for any woman, much less a woman of color, it is pretty clear that Murphy doesn’t have the profile, name recognition, and community base of support to win a contested primary vs. Demmings.

    Let’s learn from 2016 and NOT give up safe Congressional seats for long-shot, “wish-upon-a-star” bids for higher office (yes, I’m talking to you Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy).
    Doing so is shortsighted and, frankly, selfish given how small a majority the Dems hold in the House of Representatives.

Comments are closed.


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