—Congresswoman Val Demings came out swinging against US Senator Marco Rubio igniting crowds at a series of South Florida rallies. At the Little Haiti Cultural Center, the former Orlando police chief talked about the failure of Republicans like Rubio to protect and serve. Demings pointed to the massacre of 19 Texas elementary school children as a consequence of the Senate Republicans blocking legislation dealing with the disturbing waves of gun violence. Rubio is a “do nothing senator, “according to Demings who said it’s time to go beyond offering thoughts and prayers. “I’m sick and tired of just offering thoughts and prayers. That’s fine. I grew up in the church. But doggone it, faith without works is dead. And it is time for our elected leaders, it’s time for the United States Senate to get off their knees and never do something about our children being gunned down in school,” she told the crowd.
Demings supports universal background checks and red flag legislation that could alert police to those posing a danger to the community.As Demings crisscrossed Rubio’s back yard, she was greeted by nearly four hundred United Teachers of Dade supporters before heading north to an even larger crowd in Ft. Lauderdale. There, Broward County businesswoman Grace Carrington described her candidacy. “She was so real, so gracious. You can tell that she understands what average people are going through and she’ll be a true fighter for us. I’m really glad she came to Broward County.”From the start, the congresswoman has posed a serious threat to the senior senator on several fronts. She has out raised Rubio repeatedly in the grueling fundraising arena that is the most difficult part of any campaign, especially for those challenging an incumbent. Despite never running statewide, Demings excites crowds with her energy and discussion of kitchen table issues impacting families. Meanwhile the Rubio campaign is dormant.
Political insiders continue to speculate about Rubio’s rare appearances, lack of campaign events and disinterest in his Senate duties. Demings provides inspiration to a diverse group of voters. Blacks, women, the largest voting block, independents and other people of color relate to her life experiences and challenges. These are the voters who win elections. As one convert said, “She will be there to stand up for us.” The fearless and unflappable Val Demings appears be the greatest challenge of Marco Rubio’s political career.