Seeking re-election for his third term, Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday morning unveiled his ‘Law Enforcement for Marco’ coalition, comprised of 55 of Florida’s sheriffs, during the Sheriffs Winter Conference.
The Rubio campaign acknowledged that the gathering of sheriffs who endorsed Sen. Rubio for his 2022 midterm campaign was bipartisan, a fact that proves to be notable given the increasingly polarized political landscape following the 2020 Presidential Election. Of Florida’s 67 sheriffs, only 12 were not present for the Senator’s endorsement at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Jacksonville.
“I have in the past and I anticipate I will again in the future receive endorsements, but few matters as much as this one does here to me. I’m a lawmaker, which means we pass the laws, but someone has to go out and enforce the laws,” said Sen. Rubio. “I’ll work alongside these [sheriff officers] behind me and the men and women that serve under them. I’m honored to receive this endorsement, and I’m eternally grateful for your support.”
Rubio is positioning himself as the pro-police Senate candidate, opposite that of his midterm opponent Rep. Val Demings, who he claimed voted to defund police departments.
“I think it’s especially sickening when people who should know better, like Chuck Schumer’s hand-picked candidate for U.S. Senate Val Demings. It’s even worse when someone who knows better and should know better decides to align themselves with this effort to question the work that law enforcement is doing,” said Rubio. “What do you think is going to happen when you tell people that we’re not going to arrest you if you do something? They’re going to do it. So we have this epidemic of smash and grabs across the country. Not to mention the increase in violence, not only against law enforcement but against each other.”
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, who spoke following Rubio, expressed his disappointment in Demings.
“For someone who claimed to be a cop and to have worn a badge, what she did in Washington D.C. to support criminals forever tarnished any badge she ever wore,” he said.
As of the most recent St. Pete Polls analysis, Rubio leads Demings by 7 percentage points, though the race is expected to tighten as we approach Nov. 8th. Though the Demings campaign expects to be outspent by Rubio and his cohorts, Demings broke a Florida record in October amassing $8.3 million in fundraising for the third fiscal quarter of 2021. For comparison, Rubio raised $6 million in that same timeframe.
An even larger consortium of sheriffs gathered to give a ringing endorsement of Governor Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign, who also made an appearance at the Sheriffs Winter Conference, where he reiterated his opposition and promise to stand against ‘defund the police’ platforms in Florida.
“You look around the country, it is a much different picture where you see crime absolutely skyrocketing through the roof,” said DeSantis. “That didn’t just happen by accident. That happened because you had communities across the country, particularly over the last couple of years, who turned their back on law enforcement.”