U.S. Rep. Val Demings raised $4.6 million in her first quarter of fundraising for a U.S. Senate bid, her campaign announced Thursday.
That comes on the heels of reports that her likely 2022 General Election opponent, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, raised about $4 million during the same three-month period of April, May, and June, according to Fox News.
Demings, the Orlando-based Democratic representative for Florida’s 10th Congressional District, did not formally enter the race until June 9. However, she had been signaling her intention to run for months, while officially fundraising for reelection to her House seat, until June.
Demings’ campaign committee reported $1 million raised on the first day of her Senate campaign. The campaign raised more than $2.9 million in the 21 days of her Senate campaign, from more than 113,000 individual donors. The average online contribution was $26, the campaign reported.
Demings also spent a sum launching her campaign, including a large social media advertising buy. She reported entering the third quarter of 2021 with just over $3 million in the bank.
Her official campaign finance reports had not yet been posted Thursday by the Federal Election Commission. Nor had Rubio’s.
“I have been humbled and honored by the outpouring of support from across Florida and around the nation,” Demings stated in the news release. “Florida voters and the American people clearly know what’s at stake in this U.S. Senate election. As a 27-year law enforcement veteran and member of Congress, I will always put Florida and public service before politics. Florida deserves a U.S. Senator who has the courage and conviction to take on the tough fights for us. The strong support we have generated in such a short period of time shows we will have the grassroots momentum we need to win in 2022.”
Through the March reports, only a handful of U.S. senators across the nation — 14 incumbents — had raised as much as $4.6 million in total for their 2022 bids, according to the FEC. So Demings likely immediately jumped into the upper tier with her kickoff quarter.
Rubio’s campaign, in progress since he began his current term in 2017, has the early advantage, but not by much. Rubio had raised just over $9 million through March 31 and entered the spring quarter of 2021 with more than $5 million still in the bank.
It’s likely that a high-profile, high-stakes 2022 contest between Demings and Rubio would easily exceed $100 million, and that’s not counting the likely flood of outside money expected to pour into Florida during the closing months.
Demings kicked off her campaign with $71,000 in the bank, transferred in from her House reelection campaign account.
There are other Democrats vying for the seat, though none in Demings’ position. The most notable, Allen Ellison of Sebring, entered the spring 2021 quarter with $92,000 in the bank.