Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is sinking: Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is hoping to unseat him in the upcoming midterm elections, has now reported a staggering fundraising total for the third quarter of 2021. Across that three-month period, Demings raised a whopping $8.4 million — which Florida Politics describes as “more than any candidate has raised at this stage of a Senate campaign in Florida history.” It’s more than Rubio himself raised in the same period — his fundraising total for the quarter stood at $6 million. The higher fundraising levels for Demings suggest that Democrats have more enthusiasm for the race — Demings’s fundraising came from some 308,000 individual donations, with an average donation size of around $28.45.
Demings’ campaign manager, Zach Carroll, hammered Rubio in connection to the fundraising announcement. As he put it:
‘Floridians know that Rubio is a slick, spineless, and pandering politician who looks out for himself and corporate special interests, leaving everyday Floridians behind. Rubio isn’t strong enough to stand up for working Floridians anymore, he’s just in it for himself even when it hurts Florida. With this profile, Rubio will struggle to motivate the same voters who showed up for other Republicans in recent elections.’
Carroll added that Demings’s bid for Rubio’s Senate seat “will be the strongest campaign in Florida’s history — a campaign that goes everywhere and cedes no ground,” saying that they “are reaching out to voters of all political stripes — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — who know that Marco Rubio is failing to look out for them in Washington.” Demings has been working to connect with Florida voters. Carroll noted how she’s “met with Cuban American leaders in Miami to discuss the crisis in Cuba; campaigned in Tallahassee and small towns in North Florida, including with community leaders in Quincy; met with leaders of Florida’s Haitian American community in Miami to discuss the ongoing violence and political instability in Haiti; met with Mayor [Rick] Kriseman and other leaders who are on the frontlines in the fight against Red Tide in the Tampa Bay region, and traveled to Surfside to pay respects to the victims of the tragic building collapse.”
Florida has leaned Republican in recent years — the state’s last Democratic U.S. Senator, Bill Nelson, lost his re-election bid to ex-Governor Rick Scott in 2018, but a recent St. Pete Polls survey found Rubio ahead by just 2 percent, which was within the poll’s margin of error. Rubio had 48 percent of the support, while Demings had 46 percent.