Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsRep. Brown to run for Maryland attorney general Senate GOP campaign arm outraises Democratic counterpart in September Two senior House Democrats to retire MORE (D pulled in more than $8 million over the last three months for her Senate bid in Florida, outdoing her Republican rival, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley — TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook Rubio calls for federal investigation into Amazon employee benefits Senate GOP campaign arm outraises Democratic counterpart in September MORE, for a second quarter in a row.
The $8.4 million haul is nearly double what she raised in the second quarter of the year. She’s set to enter the final stretch of 2021 with about $6 million in the bank. The news site Florida Politics first reported on Demings’s fundraising numbers.
Rubio’s campaign also revealed on Wednesday that he had raised $6 million in the period spanning July 1 to Sept. 30. He entered October with $9.6 million in cash on hand, though Demings appears to be catching up.
The budding Florida Senate race is among a handful next year that could determine control of the upper chamber. The race is still in its early phases and Demings hasn’t clinched her party’s nomination yet, but she has quickly emerged as the favorite to do so.
But even with Demings’s early fundraising success, Rubio won’t be easy to beat.
For one, he has deep ties in South Florida and to the influential Cuban American community that already tends to lean Republican. He also has high name recognition in the state.
There are broader challenges for Democrats, as well. Despite its longtime status as a battleground, Democrats have seen few statewide successes there in recent years. The 2018 midterm elections saw Democrats lose their hold on one of the state’s Senate seats, while their gubernatorial nominee, Andrew Gillum, ultimately fell to Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida school district to relax mask mandate for high school students Miami Herald: DeSantis descending into 'anti-vaxx Crazyville' Trump-endorsed candidate leading GOP field to replace Crist in Florida: poll MORE (R).
In 2020, former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE carried the state for a second time, beating President BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE there by more than 3 points while making gains in Democratic strongholds like Miami-Dade County.
Still, Florida can be unpredictable, and neither side is taking the Senate race for granted.
A survey released in August by St. Pete Polls found the race nearly tied, with Rubio leading Demings 48 percent to 46 percent.