Marco Rubio projected to win Florida Senate race

Florida 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — NewsNation/ Decision Desk HQ has called the race for the Florida seat in the U.S. Senate in favor of Marco Rubio.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was vying for a third term in office against Democratic Rep. Val Demings.

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Both candidates easily won their primaries in August, and Democrats looked to the swing state for a potential upset victory in a battle for the control of Congress. Demings, a former Orlando police chief, fended off attacks from Rubio painting her as another Democrat supporting President Joe Biden’s agenda. 

Demings sought to counter that narrative, frequently citing her tenure as a law enforcement officer. During their only debate, the three-term congresswoman went on the offensive, looking directly at Rubio for most of the night as she delivered impassioned answers, arguing he’d failed to deliver for Floridians during his time in office. 

Rubio skirted questions on whether he would support a federal 15-week abortion ban proposed by fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Ky.). During the debate, he defended his position against gun restrictions, arguing some proposals wouldn’t have stopped mass shootings that have taken place with unfortunate frequency in the U.S. 

He told voters that Demings’ and the Democrats’ spending plans have worsened inflation, which is in its highest in four decades. Inflation has been a key issue for voters during the 2022 midterms and polls have shown it’s been a key reason for President Joe Biden’s low approval rating for several months. 

Rubio held a healthy lead in polling averages during the entire campaign’s duration. Demings was within 2.5 percentage points of Rubio in September before his lead ballooned to over 7 percentage points days before the election.

Florida is one of 34 states electing senators during the 2022 midterm elections. Before the election, the upper chamber of Congress was split 50-50, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaking vote for her party.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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