U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL-10) officially announced her candidacy for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) seat in the 2022 election cycle. Demings had long been rumored to be seeking statewide office, but many were uncertain if she was challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis or Rubio. She said she mulled a gubernatorial run, but felt her chances were better running for Senate.
Demings rose in popularity after then-candidate Joe Biden announced she was on a short list as a potential running mate last year. Even before then, she rose in fame for being the first black female police chief for the City of Orlando. She was elected to Congress for the first time in 2016.
Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was the featured guest in a town hall discussion entitled “Leading to Liberty” for Sean Spicer’s program Spicer & Co. on Newsmax. In the hour-long interview, DeSantis fielded questions from Spicer and the audience ranging in topics from Florida’s COVID response, illegal immigration, and education.
Political pundits who watched the interview said it felt more like an informercial for a possible 2024 presidential run, but others said he made his case for reelection in 2022.
DeSantis was on the offensive at times throughout the night, criticizing President Joe Biden’s first few months in the White House, but also theorizing where Florida would be right now if he had not been elected in 2018.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, in 2021, has raised over $23 million, and nearly $14 million of the total was raised during April alone. During April, the campaign received primarily two large sums of money, one was for over $5 million from Chicago-based hedge funder Kenneth Griffin, and the other was a $2.8 million donation from the Republican Governors’ Association. Griffin was one of DeSantis’ primary contributors to his 2018 gubernatorial run.
DeSantis has not formally filed the paperwork to run for reelection in 2022, but the account is ramping up donations, indicating a DeSantis campaign is likely imminent.
Over 30 contributions came in totaling over $50,000, 139 contributions over $25,000, and 86 contributions of $100 to $500.
Earlier this week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a video where she is planning on making a major announcement, and “something new” is coming on June 1.
In the video, clips of Fried tout her resume as the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida as well as rumors of her being an early frontrunner to challenge Governor Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race in 2022.
On Wednesday, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll showing Governor Ron DeSantis leads each of his potential Democratic competitors by at least double-digit points in the 2022 gubernatorial race.
In a hypothetical head-to-head general election, DeSantis leads Rep. Charlie Crist 51-41. Against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the same scenario, DeSantis leads 51-39, and against Rep. Val Demings, DeSantis leads 53-38.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-7) is set to announce a run for U.S. Senate against sitting Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022. Murphy is the first major challenger to join the Senate race and has a reputation for being a proven fundraiser, providing a challenge for Rubio’s team.
Murphy has a history of separating herself from the larger Democratic Party and provides potential crossover appeal to moderate voters. She and her family fled communist Vietnam when she was a child, and refers to herself as a “proud capitalist,” and has given indicators she may be opposed to possible tax increases floated by President Joe Biden’s administration.
Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced his reelection bid for 2022. Patronis made the announcement by posting a video entitled “Let’s Keep Florida Open,” where he touted his work to get Florida’s economy back open after the COVID pandemic. Patronis and his family own the famous Capt. Anderson’s restaurant in Panama City, a point he made in the video while highlighting the work his family did to provide all they could for the families they employed during the pandemic.
Recently, multiple reports have chronicled how Florida has been a hotbed for GOP fundraising efforts ahead of the 2022 election cycle.
“Florida, with its deep bench of wealthy GOP donors, has become central to House Republicans’ early playbook for reclaiming the majority,” POLITICO reported at the end of April. “… Florida is a fundraising goldmine. It is, afterall [sic], where wealthy donors – and TV personalities – flock to homes in Palm Beach, Naples, Boca Grande and other high-income areas.”
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (R-13) is set to make a “major announcement” from St. Petersburg. It has been rumored he is announcing his candidacy for governor, evidenced by Crist teasing a run back in February.
In an interview with Jim DeFede on Facing South Florida, Crist said he is focused on his work in Congress, but he’s open to launching a campaign.