LAKE WORTH, FLORIDA — In her first debate with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic U.S. Rep Val Demings went into attack mode within the first few minutes. Rubio criticized Demings for supporting President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, leading to massive inflation. “They were warned about this,” he said. “The U.S. needs to stop spending so much money.”
ON THE ATTACK
Demings, a former Orlando police chief and three-term representative in Congress, was visibly upset when facing questions on inflation, abortion, immigration, gun violence, and foreign policy. She accused Rubio of being a serial liar and seized the opportunity to attack the two-term senator as the general election approaches.
In recent election cycles, Florida has shifted more toward the right, giving Republicans an advantage. But Demings has hit the campaign trail hard in her attempt to win the seat in the Senate. Demings has spent close to $40 million, as reported by The Florida Standard, in one of the costliest races in the nation.
“Oil reserves do not exist to win midterms,” Rubio said. He criticized the Biden administration for releasing more oil from the strategic reserve to bring down prices at the pump during the election. “We’ve got to begin producing American oil again – why are we begging Saudi Arabia for oil? We’re producing a million barrels a day less of oil than we used to,” said Rubio, noting that the U.S. can produce much more domestically.
Evan Power, Chairman of Chairs for the Republican Party of Florida told The Florida Standard that “while the moderators tried to take control of the debate, Marco Rubio dominated the evening. Marco Rubio had solid policy driven answers paired with results that he has delivered as a Senator, while his opponent could only deliver Pelosi given talking points and angry attacks.”
ABORTION ON DEMAND
When asked whether he would support a federal abortion ban with no exceptions, Rubio said, “Every bill I have ever sponsored on abortion and every bill I’ve ever voted for has exceptions.” But Demings shot back with a personal attack when she said, “he can make his mouth say anything today. He is good at that, by the way. What day is it, and what is Marco Rubio saying?”
Rubio reminded viewers that Demings holds the extreme position because she refuses to say what limits she would place on abortion, if any. The Florida Standard reported that Demings has publicly stated that she supports abortion until fetal viability, saying that only a doctor can determine if a fetus is viable, even after birth.
“How long will you watch people being gunned down in first grade, fourth grade, high school, college, church, synagogue, grocery store, movie theater, a mall, and a nightclub and do nothing?” Demings asked Rubio. But she did not mention the fact that multiple lives have been saved by upstanding citizens who used a gun to stop an active shooter before they killed additional victims.
Rubio defended his position by stating that Democratic gun proposals would not have stopped many of the mass shootings. “Every one of these shooters would have passed the background check that she keeps insisting on. No one here is in favor of mass shootings and violence.” He went on to say that Americans have a constitutional right to protect themselves.
ON THE RECORD
“I am really disappointed in you, Marco Rubio, because I think there was a time when you did not lie in order to win,” Demings said. But Rubio reminded Demings that “in the two terms I’ve been there, no U.S. Senator has gotten more done than I have,” he said. “The only thing she does is vote 100 percent with Pelosi.”
When asked if he would accept the results of the upcoming election, Rubio said “Sure, because I’m going to win.” He also stated that Florida has good election laws, unlike other states.
Early voting begins in Florida on Monday, October 24. Visit Florida’s Division of Elections for information on your specific county.