Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is running for re-election in what would be his third term against liberal Democrat and current Florida representative Val Demings. While this race has received considerably less interest from national media compared to other Senate races, like in Georgia and Pennsylvania, the Florida contest is just as important for Republicans in their efforts to regain control of the Senate. Most poll aggregators show Rubio with a four point lead on Demings, but some individual polls have the candidates tied, indicating just how close this election could be on election day. Here are some things you need to know about the Florida Senate race before the November 8 election date.
Who is Val Demings?
Val Demings is an African American woman from Jacksonville, FL. She is currently serving as a representative for Florida’s 10th District, which includes many of the African American communities in and around Orlando, FL. Val Demings was one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal critics and one of Nancy Pelosi’s strongest allies in the House. This was made evident by Nancy Pelosi’s decision to appoint Demings as an impeachment manager for the House’s first impeachment of Donald Trump in January 2020. A win over Rubio would ensure another vote in the Senate for the far-left ideology of liberals in the Senate.
What are the key issues?
Like all Senate races, candidates are expected to make their positions clear on numerous topics. As elections go on, certain issues stand out and become pivotal for many voters. In the case of the Florida race, guns and voting rights are the most divisive between the candidates. The candidates’ positions were made clear in their most recent debate.
Despite widespread evidence of voter fraud in the last election, Demings calls for easier access to voting and less secure procedures. Meanwhile, Rubio declared that “it has never been easier to vote,” accurately pointing to the prevalence of things like mail-in voting, which has been adopted throughout the US following the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting rights is a divisive issue in Florida due to the large number of minorities in the state, especially in the major cities, like Miami and Orlando. One particular point of contention between Demings and Rubio is the effect of voting legislation on minorities. Rubio supports some form of ID requirements at the voting booths and a ban on ballot harvesting where many ballots are picked up by one individual and brought to the polls to be submitted for counting. Demings’ radical agenda would prevent any such laws being enacted. She believes such laws prevent minorities from voting, which is a common claim among Democrat politicians. However, studies into this belief show that “voter ID laws have little to no impact on minority voter turnout.”
On guns, Demings supports national red flag laws which would prevent minors from purchasing firearms and allow virtually anyone to report lawful gun owners for suspicious activity, This would allow the police to take away guns with minimal resistance. Rubio supports a more common sense approach to gun regulation similar to the red flag law passed in Florida, which requires a judge-issued court order before one’s firearms can be taken. The gun issue is particularly important in Florida because of the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Parkland school shooting in 2016 and 2018, respectively.