Val Demings, Marco Rubio square off over attendance records
Celebrations are in the works; one will be happier than the other.

Demings Rubio
‘When Florida needs you, you just don’t show up.’

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s attendance sheet is back in the fore in the latest ad from Democratic challenger and U.S. Rep. Val Demings.

In a 2016 redux, Demings latched onto Rubio’s attendance records, a line of attack against the Republican incumbent popularized by former President Donald Trump. Rubio’s attendance has been one of the worst in Congress, and in an ad released Wednesday, Demings says Floridians are worse off because of it.

The ad also doesn’t miss on the opportunity to highlight that she was Chief of the Orlando Police Department.

“Listen here Marco Rubio. For 27 years, I showed up every day to put dangerous criminals away, never knowing I’d come home to my family, and when I was Chief, we reduced violent crime by 40%. But Marco, you’ve got one of the worst attendance records in the Senate. When Florida needs you, you just don’t show up,” Demings said in the ad.

Through the 116th Congress, which ended in January 2021, Rubio missed 9.8% of votes since taking office in 2011, one of the worst rates in the Senate. The only Senators with worse attendance rates were, like Rubio, former presidential candidates.

During a 2016 presidential debate, Trump criticized Rubio for having the “No. 1 absentee record” in the Senate. That comment earned “mostly true” rating from PolitiFact, a rare rating for the former President.

Meanwhile, Demings has missed less than 1% of votes since she took office in 2017.

“I approve this message because it’s simple: you don’t show up for work, you lose your job,” Demings said.

But Rubio is punching back. In a news release soon after Demings’ ad went live, the Rubio campaign criticized his challenger for having a “do-nothing record.”

In contrast with the attendance question, Rubio’s campaign noted his list of achievements and hit Demings for siding with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Marco’s bills have been signed into law by both Republican and Democrat presidents. Meanwhile, Pelosi Puppet Val Demings’ version of ‘showing up’ for the people of Florida is voting for Joe Biden’s failing agenda 100% of the time and delivering zero results in her six years in Congress,” said Rubio campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Gregory.

“Demings is desperately hoping Floridians will look past her do-nothing record, but this November, Floridians will remember who consistently delivered for them.”

The Rubio campaign’s response included a list of accomplishments, like his input on the Paycheck Protection Program and doubling the Child Tax Credit. However, it did not include his years sponsoring legislation for red flag laws, parts of which became law with the gun violence legislation Biden signed earlier this week.

Meanwhile, his campaign highlighted Demings’ record, including when she missed a March 5, 2020, House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the response to the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic and for frequently using proxy voting during 2021. The campaign also criticized Demings for holding a campaign event while remotely attending a hearing in May.

FiveThirtyEight gives Rubio a 94% chance at re-election and expects him to secure it with 55% of the vote. And according to a poll Center Street published Wednesday, Rubio leads Demings 50% to 42%.

But at least one pollster says there is still room for the race to change before Election Day. The results when compared to the centrist organization’s last poll in March also showed Demings with the momentum, with a 13% swing in her favor among registered voters.

“Marco’s still the favorite, but what’s interesting is that he’s sort of stalled out,” said Center Street Co-Founder Jacob Perry. “He has a motivated base of voters locked in, but he’s not making any new pitch to draw in new voters.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • PeterH

    July 13, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Rubio, Scott and Florida’s Republicans in Congress could have ….but didn’t prepare strict border control and immigration laws. It’s their job to create legislation NOT THE WHITE HOUSE.

    Rubio, Scott and Florida’s Republicans in Congress could have …..but didn’t remove Trump from office for withholding military aid to Ukraine.

    Rubio, Scott and Florida’s Republicans in Congress could have ….. but didn’t write legislation to restrict gun sales and protect our schools.

    Rubio, Scott and Florida’s Republicans in Congress could have ….. but didn’t write legislation to protect the health decisions of women and doctors in the State of Florida.

    Rubio, Scott and Florida’s Republicans in Congress could have ….. but didn’t write legislation to BLOCK TRUMP’S TRADE TARIFFS….which, now that the pandemic is slowing, is one of the primary causes of today’s inflation. As stressed by Trump’s own economist when you force trade tariffs on imports….. the American consumer pays the price.

    Florida is showing the wear for 20 years of failed Republican leadership.
    Per capita Florida COVID deaths higher than California.
    33% of Florida residents live below the poverty level.
    25% of Florida’s residents live on Medicaid.
    Schools are short thousands of teachers and staff.
    Only 30% of Florida’s third graders can read.


    • Tom

      July 15, 2022 at 8:26 am

      Total Bull Jive once again from Lincoln towel boy, the peter h. Loser.

      Biden Harris have destroyed border, 2 plus million illegals” have entered. This is real impeachment, just wait and see. They have destroyed U S economy. Green no deal. 10% inflation.

      DeSantis saved Florida. Saved kids from suicides, opened schools. Economy the best in country, 3% or less in

      You are out of touch.

  • Impeach Biden

    July 13, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Val, you are going to have to defend your Democrat platform at some point. High crime, forty year high inflation, fuel prices, Southern Border chaos, just to name a few. Of course you will welcome the likes of Kamala and Joe to campaign for you. Uh huh, and of course expect Marco to ask what happened to your service weapon.

  • Arnold E. Gibbs

    July 13, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Val may be talking tough cop in her ads, but voting 100% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, and President Biden. Val, stop pretending you are Pro-police when you are bending over backwards with the leadership of the damnocrotic cabal.

    • Impeach Biden

      July 13, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      You are right Arnold. At some point she will have to defend these policies of Pelosi, Biden, and Schumer. She knows she can’t and I’m sure Marco has lots of zingers coming down the road. Don’t want to reveal them too early.

      • Ocean Joe

        July 13, 2022 at 3:47 pm

        Marco’s best zinger:
        “Florida is better off when I don’t show up to work.”

  • Kimberly Hughes

    July 13, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    A Student Managed To Cover His Complete Student’s Loan With Just His Online Earnings… Here Is What He Did….

  • Linda

    July 13, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    I have contacted Rubio numerous times regarding AR15 type gun control. He is not for further gun control. That’s my thing. Val It’s time for guns of war to get out of the hands of the regular joe out of public places, schools, businesses and places of worship.

  • marylou

    July 14, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    More proof that Marco is unfit to make decisions that affect the lives of women and girls: he voted for Florida’s Scarlet Letter Law, which forced single mothers who wanted to put their babies up for adoption to purchase ads in their local newspaper detailing their recent sexual histories and partners.

    The ads included women’s names, ages, physical descriptions including her hair, weight and eye color. Women were required to provide details about their sexual encounters — including names of sexual partners, dates and locations. The legislation had no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and even required girls under the age of 18 to comply.

  • YYep

    July 15, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Tell the truth the world is turning and the poles are moving and you all wells re going dry

  • tjb

    July 18, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Marco is a worthless politician. What Senate Bills has he introduced in Congress that actually helped Floridians? He is more involved with bad-mouthing the opposition than offering actual solutions to make Florida and America better.

  • bud

    July 22, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    It is past time to call out rubio and his Fascist idology , a disgrace to Democracy and truth!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn


This is default text for notification bar