Earlier this week, Demings said she is “seriously considering” the idea.
“I’ve received so many calls and texts and emails, and have been stopped when I’m out and about by people who are asking me that very same question,” she told Politico on Thursday. “Matter of fact, they think I should run for statewide office and maybe challenge the governor, or challenge Sen. Rubio next year. I’m seriously considering a statewide run. And we’ll see what happens.”
Demings made a national name for herself last year when she served as a Democratic impeachment manager during then-President Trump’s first impeachment and has been outspoken about police reform, having served as a police officer in Orlando for 27 years.
Earlier this week, she clashed with U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on the issue during a House committee hearing when he was arguing for an amendment to prevent the defunding of police on a bill aimed at reviewing anti-Asian hate crimes.
“Did I strike a nerve?” Demings asked Jordan during the debate in a moment that made Democrats cheer.
“You and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves,” she shouted, accusing Republicans of using police officers as “political pawns” as Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., attempted to restore order in the chamber.
“Val Demings has proven she can stand on the national stage, whether it’s as a House impeachment manager or a possible running mate for Biden or taking on Jim Jordan,” Fernand Amandi, a Democratic consultant and pollster in Florida, told Politico, adding her years on the force would make it difficult to paint her as a “radical socialist” as DeSantis did with Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018.
Although former President Obama won Florida in both of his presidential elections, the so-called battleground state has been increasingly comfortable territory for Republicans since President Trump’s election in 2016. He won the state easily both in 2016 and 2020.
DeSantis, a strong Trump supporter who has also gained national prominence — particularly over his stands related to the coronavirus, in comparison to those of blue-state governors, and his recent tangle with “60 Minutes” — is also popular with Republicans in the state and Rubio, first elected as senator in 2010, is considered a tough-to-beat candidate as well.
State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide Democrat, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist are reportedly considering bids against DeSantis themselves.
Demings told Politico she would make her decision “soon” after seeing “what the landscape looks like.”
“There are a lot of people in my home state who want me to run statewide,” she added.