Counter-counter-counter punch: New Marco Rubio ad continues policing attack
Screen shot of Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, via Marco Rubio campaign ad, "Failed."

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey
Rubio's ad starts with an undated video clip of Demings saying, 'America has failed.'

Hardly a day goes by when the U.S. Senate contest between Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings doesn’t focus on the question of how to characterize Demings’ commitment to law enforcement.

Rubio’s campaign just released its second statewide TV commercial and it’s all about challenging the commitment of Demings, a retired Orlando Police Chief, to support police now that she’s a three-term Democratic Congresswoman from Orlando.

Rubio’s new 30-second ad, “Failed,” begins with video of Demings digging her own hole. The undated, unspecified clip from a Zoom conference shows her saying, “America has failed.”

That is followed by several Florida county Sheriffs and other law enforcement officers chastising her for that, and tying her to President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Congresswoman Demings, America hasn’t failed, you did,” says Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

“Val Demings went to Washington and became a puppet for Pelosi,” Ivey charges later. He later calls her “Just another radical rubber stamp.”

The back-and-forth featuring Sheriffs and FOP President Steve Zona includes Zona repeating Rubio’s false attack on Demings, that, in a June 8, 2020, CBS This Morning interview, she praised the “defund the police” movement that emerged from the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. The cited statement was taken out of context, and she has consistently stated she opposes the idea.

Demings’ campaign communications director Christian Slater shot back: “Marco Rubio is continuing to tell desperate lies about Chief Demings because he knows that her 27-year law enforcement career is far more impressive to Florida voters than his nearly three decades as a career politician.”

Nonetheless, Rubio’s latest attack continues a theme that has dominated much of the campaign rhetoric from both sides through the summer, as Rubio has attempted to devalue Demings’ career in law enforcement, and Demings has gone on the defensive.

Just Thursday, Demings released her second commercial defending her police record.

Demings’ first TV commercial, released last month, also was about defending her police record, and began with her calling the defund the police movement “just crazy.”

Rubio’s first TV commercial, released last month, was about devaluing Demings police record, with some of the same law enforcement officers criticizing her and raising the charge that she supported the movement.

Rubio’s newest spot also shakes his endorsements in Demings’ face, displaying them in text as Rubio approves the message. He’s been endorsed by 55 of Florida’s 67 sheriffs, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association, though all of them either are Republicans or usually Republican allies.

“And we didn’t sell out to liberals, turning our back on law enforcement,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith says in Rubio’s new commercial.

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]


11 comments

  • Meredith Lee Ayling Shaw

    August 5, 2022 at 8:53 am

    I’m pro-police, but I wish police would stick to being better police. The fact of the matter is If they did an adequate job of recruiting and training and policing themselves, there would be far fewer issues and if policing hadn’t killed George Floyd, there would have been no need for BLM.
    I also wish Lil Marco would stop twisting words, using them out of context, and flat out lying. But then, he is a Florida Republican.

    Reply

    • Ocean Joe

      August 5, 2022 at 11:02 am

      Couldn’t have said it better.
      Typical things a wealthy person always says when they get arrested:
      1. “They can’t do this to me! I have rights!”
      2. On the street: “Do you know who you’re dealing with?”
      3. On the street: “I’ll have you fired!”
      4. “Why do they keep the jail so cold? They gave me a washcloth for a blanket!”
      Police worship needs to stop. Police salaries need to be doubled along with selectivity in hiring. Bad cops cost lives, civil unrest, millions in lawsuits. They also make it harder for the 90% who are good cops doing an impossible job.
      And rich people, next time you get pulled over or arrested, try not to pull rank. They record it all these days.

      Reply

    • Toast Master

      August 5, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      George Floyd overdosed on fentanyl, after swallowing his stash to avoid its discovery. This was the second time he had done this.

      Reply

      • Jack

        August 6, 2022 at 7:54 am

        You’re an idiot.

        Reply

  • Deborah Coffey

    August 5, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Start looking for another job, Marco. We are done with your lying, your reprehensible Senate attendance, and mostly, your complete disrespect for what most Floridians actually want. Bye.

    Reply

  • Joe Corsin

    August 5, 2022 at 9:33 am

    Vote RED for MARCO BOOBIO
    Vote RED for FRAUD SCOTT
    Vote RED for DEATHSANTIS
    Vote RED for PIZZA GAETZ
    Vote RED for FAT CAMMACK

    Reply

    • Toast Master

      August 5, 2022 at 3:00 pm

      JoeBot adding immeasurably to the discourse.

      Reply

  • Ocean Joe

    August 5, 2022 at 10:46 am

    The Hillbilly Sheriff’s club is busy these days.
    Few if any of the 59 rural red counties they represent have depts. as big as Orlando.
    They are also experts in agriculture, hence their pitch for toll road Simpson.
    So only natural to shill for Marco as well.
    Val Demmings should have waited and run against Scott, a guy not even a mother could love, despite those “Ricky’s a good boy” commercials, but she’d make a great senator by Florida standards.
    Marco, a few questions:
    When do we get to stop changing our clocks? Tik, tok.
    If you think the Dems are weak on China and your Latin dictators, how on earth is America First retrenchment and abandonment of America’s role in the world since WW2 going to do anything other than create a vacuum for China to fill?

    Reply

  • Action Man

    August 5, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    Yes Marco America has failed because you were never around to do anything. To busy only talking about Cuba. You are a failure and loser. Can’t wait until you are removed. You have never done anything for law enforcement, all a joke.

    Reply

  • tom palmer

    August 5, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    The latest charges of police falsifying search warrants illustrates the need for reform. I have personally witnessed police officers lying under oath in court. By all means support the majority of police officers who faithfully do their jobs every day, but do not’ endorse the outlaws and renegades who dishonor them

    Reply

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    August 6, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Just another example of the media propping up Ds. Demings said she’d have to consider replying to the question about defunding the police. That says all we need to know.

    Reply

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