- Incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio has won a third term in Washington
- Rubio bested Democrat challenger Val Demings by 12 points, amassing 55.6 percent of the vote
- With his victory, Rubio becomes the first Senator from Florida to serve three terms
Incumbent GOP Senator Marco Rubio defeated Democrat challenger Val Demings in the race for one of Florida’s Senate seats. With his 12-point victory, Rubio becomes the first Senator from Florida to serve three terms.
At 8:02 P.M., when the race was called, Rubio appeared on 55.6 percent of casted ballots, amassing 3,454,082 total votes. Demings, in comparison, earned 43.4 percent of the electorate with 2,699,270 total votes.
Throughout his campaign, Rubio maintained a steady, but close lead over Demings. In the final major poll released ahead of election day, Rubio led 7 percentage points, 51 percent to 44 percent, ultimately overperforming by 5 points.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 9, 2022
Demings emerged as a dark horse to usurp Rubio’s re-election chances, breaking headlines as she raised an eye-popping $8.4 million on 3rd quarter campaign finance reports. Rubio, over the same period, reported hauling in $6 million.
The former congresswoman later surpassed $10 million raised in the first quarter of 2022, reporting upwards of $13 million on hand at the time, amounting to the most ever for a Senate challenger.
Demings faced a number of challenges, including one that is out of her control: a national political undertow that could ultimately sweep Democrats out of control of Congress.
Rubio, who was first elected to the Senate in 2010, holds an advantage as an incumbent and also “cuts into the Democratic vote in two different ways,” according to Democrat party consultant Steve Schale.
Rubio’s momentum was propelled by a series of high-scale endorsements like the ‘Law Enforcement for Marco’ coalition, comprised of 55 bipartisan Florida sheriffs.
The incumbent Senator used the endorsement to position himself as the pro-police Senate candidate, opposite that of his midterm opponent, herself a former police chief, 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 earlier this year.
Now, Rubio’s constituents with bated breath await his future plans. Rubio held two unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020 and seems poised to try for the third time in 2024. Though he has not publicly commented on his future, GOP insiders speculate that he may announce a run for the White House in the early 2023.