Marco Rubio undercuts Val Demings’ law enforcement background in first TV ad
Marco Rubio gets the sheriffs' nod in Jacksonville. 

rubio sheriffs 2
Sheriffs supporting Rubio go after the former Police Chief where it hurts.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio launched his first campaign ad of the cycle. In it, the incumbent Republican enlists law enforcement to undermine a piece of Democratic opponent Val Demings’ resume.

A series of uniformed police leaders, including Sheriffs and union heads, appear in the ad to drag Demings’ voting record in the U.S. House.

“Val Demings turned her back on law enforcement,” said Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith in the ad’s opening line.

It’s a blunt charge leveled against Demings, who previously served as Orlando’s Police Chief and amplified her experience in uniform in her own campaign ads.

Rubio’s campaign intends to remind voters he’s the candidate with the support of 55 of 67 Florida Sheriffs, not to mention the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

“Val Demings went to Washington and abandoned the men and women who serve in law enforcement, calling Defunding the Police ‘thoughtful’ and violent riots ‘a beautiful sight,’” said Rubio spokesperson Elizabeth Gregory. “In voting with (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and for (President Joe) Biden’s disastrous agenda 100% of the time, Demings proved she cares more about following the lead of Democrats in Washington than she does fighting for Floridians’ interests.”

For Demings’ part, she released a response dismissing the “desperate” ad.

“I spent 27 years protecting and serving Florida, fighting to make sure we are all safer. Not one day has gone by since becoming a law enforcement officer that I do not think about the men and women who continue to do this tough job and I will continue to work to make sure they have the resources they need to survive and keep communities safe,” Demings said.

“Rubio spent decades climbing the political ladder to serve his own self interest at the expense of Florida. But this is what politicians do: when they have to go up against a solid record of public service, they resort to smearing others and try to offer alternative facts. I was the police and Marco knows it. He should be ashamed of himself but I guess fear has no shame.”

An image of Rubio surrounded by Sheriffs opens the ad, but he leaves it to the men in uniform to brutalize Demings’ votes in Washington and her statements about law enforcement during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

“Demings votes with Pelosi 100% of the time,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

He later cites an interview where Demings characterized protests in Berkeley, California, as “a beautiful sight,” despite those turning violent, a matter right-wing media outlets hammered her on last year.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods criticized votes against condemning riots, and Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona labels such a record as “dangerous.”

“Maybe she used to be a cop,” Woods said near the ads close. But Smith returns with a parting shot. “In Washington,” he said, “Val Demings is just another radical rubber stamp.”

Images of police protests that turned violent around the country interspace testimonials in the 30-second interview.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


16 comments

  • Joe Corsin

    July 19, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Vote RED for killing blacks, homosexuals, and women with bad policy.

    Vote RED for forced birth of crack babies to feed the prison system.

    Vote RED for low wage slavery and GOP shoveling money to the rich.

    Vote RED for Trumpian kleptocracy and terrorism

  • Dan

    July 19, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    LOL, we could elect a potted plant and it would be more effective in the Senate than Rubio is. All this guy does is cash lobbyist checks and quote bible verses on Twitter. The only thing of note he’s done that I can remember is chase after UFOs. This guy is a total joke.

    • Mark Napier

      July 20, 2022 at 4:34 pm

      You are so right on that. I am an Independent and I would have supported him 10 years ago, but after seeing him in action I will go with Val Demmings.

      • Mark Napier

        July 20, 2022 at 4:42 pm

        For the record I am an Independent candidate running for office. I support law enforcement, but I recognize too that more training and funding is needed, in addition to judicial reform.

  • Tjb

    July 19, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    Is true that Rubio wants to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, and increase taxes on the working class family?

    • Elliott Offen

      July 19, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      The GOP are scam artists when it comes to workers. During the Trump years…wages in Florida were $10 an hour for restaurant workers, reception, hotel workers. That might not sound that bad but adjusted for inflation $10 an hour is like $6 an hour back in 1997. Nobody was making $6 an hour back in 1997. Even fast food workers were making $7-$8 back then. The sick hogs were grifting workers to a husk when Hitler was president. It got so bad they 1) passed minimum wage law and 2) they HAD to increase wages around 2021 because people were sick of it and leaving. The hogs just about grifted themselves out of any labor. So now the wage is $15 an hour usually. Guess what that translates into in 1997 dollars…about $8 an hour. So the wage might be $15 an hour but in purchasing power inflation adjusted it’s like $8 an hour was back in 1997. They were and are still grifting that hard and people have no clue. Republicans basically destroying whatever areas they control by shoveling money to the rich.

      • Conservative always

        July 21, 2022 at 10:19 am

        You are so funny and delusional…

  • tom palmer

    July 19, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Demings needs to respond in more specific terms unless she wants to allow the charges by Rubio’s surrogates to stick. Who is advising her?

    • Mark Napier

      July 20, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      You are so right on that. I am an Independent and I would have supported him 10 years ago, but after seeing him in action I will go with Val Demmings. Now with that said I have not followed Demmings and have never saw these allegations until today. So yes she needs to address. I tried to get Rubio not to vote for CIA Director John Brennan who was big into politicizing intelligence reports to Congress. I use to work underneath the guy. So I saw it first hand. but Rubio blew off my recommendation and we saw how he lied during Benghazi. I sought Rubio’s help for another situation and was just dragged along. All he cares about is who is lining his pockets with money. Someone better needs to replace him for sure.

  • Andy

    July 20, 2022 at 6:35 am

    This is a page out of the Karl Rove playboy.
    SWIFT BOATED!!!

    • Ken

      July 20, 2022 at 9:33 am

      What is a Karl Rove playboy?

  • Just a comment

    July 20, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    De funding the police is just as prejudice as the paste they sold in the old days all prejudice at a high rate.

  • Kassandra

    July 21, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Reporting on a commercial we’ve all seen isn’t helpful. I want to know if any of tge points made are true.

  • DJKA

    July 22, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Yeah, we’ve seen the ad. How about some investigative reporting of the claims it makes?

    Did Demings call violent riots “beautiful,” or was she referring to peaceful protests that were later disrupted by violence?

    Did she call defunding the police “thoughtful,” or did she say that about the Minneapolis City Council debating plans to dismantle and recreate the MPD after years of issues?

    What has Rubio done in the past six years to improve policing in Florida?

  • JohnJameson

    July 29, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Why isn’t Val Demings talking about what she has done since elected to office not her past. It’s like me saying I used to be thin and muscular while now I weigh 300 lbs?

  • juanita s franklin

    August 1, 2022 at 1:24 am

    Rubio when appeared on the political scene said his parents came to the United StAtes from Cuba to escape Castro.
    Turns out they came over here way before Castro took power.
    Rubio, when questioned about it said well that’s what he thought.
    Sounds like his leader Der Trump.
    Val Demings is a dynamic congresswoman. She has told off in hearings Mr. Nasty Gym Jordan of Ohio. She is for we the people.
    As far as being a rubber stamp for Pelosi — hey, she is a Democrat.
    I hope Val Demings wins. I will be voting for her.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

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, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, 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


Categories