Electoral Challenge To Republican Senator Marco Rubio Planned

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According to a new report from Axios, Central Florida Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a Democratic primary campaign to take on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in next year’s midterm elections. Murphy is planning her announcement for next month, according to Axios, and — if she goes through with her reported plans — she could be one of the earliest high-profile Democratic names in the race.

Meanwhile, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis (who will be up for re-election in 2022) already has a high-profile Democratic challenger — Rep. Charlie Crist (Fla.), who is himself a former governor, although Crist was a Republican when he led the state. DeSantis could, in theory, soon be attempting to exit the Florida capital with a presidential or even vice presidential campaign. Trump publicly acknowledged last month that he might pick DeSantis as his running mate in the event of another Trump presidential bid.

As for Murphy, Axios describes her as a “proven fundraiser,” adding that “[jumping] in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.” The last time that Florida had a Democratic Senator isn’t too far in the past — Democrat Bill Nelson, who has been confirmed as NASA Administrator following his exit from office, represented the state in the Senate until the aftermath of his narrow defeat by Republican Rick Scott in the 2018 midterm elections. On a similar note, DeSantis himself originally won the governorship by less than 1 percent, so Florida Democrats are within range of victories.

Murphy campaign spokesperson Lauren Calmet said to Axios this week that Murphy “has not made a decision on whether to run for the U.S. Senate,” but sources that the outlet described as “people familiar with the matter” were relatively unequivocal. Heading into the midterm elections, there are already two currently GOP-held Senate seats that the Cook Political Report rates as toss-ups, including spots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Cook currently rates Rubio’s seat as a “likely” Republican hold, but there’s still a lot of time to go ahead of the midterms. Circumstances could substantially change.