Florida's Val Demings launches bid to oust Rubio from Senate

FILE - In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Rep. Val Demings, D, Fla., speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on antitrust on Capitol Hill in Washington. Demings is launching a bid to oust Florida's Marco Rubio from the U.S. Senate, giving Florida Democrats hope of changing its fortunes at the ballot box. The Orlando congresswoman used a video on social media to begin introducing herself to a wider audience. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)
FILE - In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Rep. Val Demings, D, Fla., speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on antitrust on Capitol Hill in Washington. Demings is launching a bid to oust Florida's Marco Rubio from the U.S. Senate, giving Florida Democrats hope of changing its fortunes at the ballot box. The Orlando congresswoman used a video on social media to begin introducing herself to a wider audience. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Val Demings launched a bid for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, raising hope among Democrats of ousting Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio from the evenly divided chamber.

With the Senate now split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, the Florida race will undoubtedly be among the nation's most high profile and expensive battles next year.

The Orlando congresswoman used a video on social media to begin introducing herself to a wider audience. In the video, Demings showcases her rise from a working-class background to become the police chief of one of Florida’s largest cities before ascending to the U.S. Congress.

“When you grow up in the South, poor, Black and female, you have to have faith and progress and opportunity,” she says in her video.

Demings was on the short list of potential running mates for now-President Joe Biden after helping lead the first impeachment against then-President Donald Trump.

Some Florida Democrats had hoped that Demings would instead take on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is banking on reelection next year to help propel him for a possible run for the presidency in 2024.

In her Senate announcement video, Demings takes aim at Trump, calling him a “lawless president.” Then she takes aim at Rubio.

“There are some in Washington who prefer the same old tired ways of doing business,” she says, “too tired to fight the efforts to suppress the people’s vote. They fall back to tired talking points and backwards solutions.”