Marco Rubio defeats Val Demings in Senate race

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who had a failed 2016 presidential run, has won his third term in office.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who had a failed 2016 presidential run, has won his third term in office.

Rubio faced Democratic Rep. Val Demings, a former police chief who built a national name with a prominent role in then-President Donald Trump’s impeachment and for being on President Joe Biden’s list of possible running mates.

WATCH BELOW: Marco Rubio speaks after winning Senate race.

Marco Rubio delivered a speech Tuesday night in Miami after being re-elected senator.

Still, polls had shown Rubio with a sizeable lead over Demings.

Rubio hosted a watch party Tuesday night in his hometown of Miami.

“What Americans basically want is what my parents wanted, it’s what all of you’ve wanted, it’s what people want all over the world but they haven’t been able to fulfill here,” Rubio said in his victory speech. “They want to be able to have a job that pays a decent wage, they want to be able to live in a home that they own in a neighborhood that is safe, they want their kids to go to schools that teach truth, they want to be able to retire with dignity and they want all four of their kids to have a life better than the life they’ve had.”

The senator had been busy hitting the campaign trail hard these past weeks and months, but on Tuesday he scaled back on scheduling, making a TV appearance, and letting voters know why he should retain his seat in the Senate.

“The Democratic party and their ideals have become so hostile,” he said on Fox News.

Rubio slammed Democrats during his TV appearance, saying Floridians have been struggling.

“They are the ones paying the high gas prices, they are the ones struggling to find anyone to work in their small business, they are the ones hit by inflation, and the people in charge keep telling them none of that matters,” he said.

The interview was fresh off a rally Rubio participated in Monday night where he joined forces with other Florida Republican politicians to rally up last minute support for Gov. Ron DeSantis and their party.

“We are not going to let anyone destroy our state,” Rubio said.

While the senator led the polls over his opponent, he’s said that didn’t mean anything unless voters came out and casted their ballots.

Florida has increasingly shifted rightward in recent election cycles, giving Rubio the advantage as Republicans now lead Democrats with voter registration in the state.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings delivered a speech Tuesday night in Orlando after losing the Senate race to Republican incumbent Marco Rubio.

Demings hadn’t been deterred though and had raised a significant amount of money for her campaign, although not as much as Rubio.

Demings made a last minute push for votes in Democrat-rich Broward County Monday night.

She stuck to her message that she’s better on crime as a former top cop, even though Republicans say they’re the law and order party.

In fact, even her campaign refers to her as chief. Still, it wasn’t enough to defeat the longtime senator.

“As you all know, things did not turn out the way we had hoped. But that’s alright – that’s alright,” Demings said in Orlando after losing the Senate race. “I have spoken to Sen. Rubio and I congratulated him and said to him that Florida is our home state and please continue to work hard for the place we call home.”

Candidate

Votes

%

Marco Rubio*(R)
4,474,84758%
Val Demings(D)
3,201,52241%
*Incumbent
98.3% of Precincts Reporting

(5,610 / 5,708)


About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.