Florida has become somewhat of a white whale for Democrats in recent years. While the Sunshine State certainly remains competitive, it’s Republicans who have come out on the winning side, albeit often narrowly, in the most recent presidential, Senate and gubernatorial contests. When looking at the overall 2022 map, Democrats have easier pickup opportunities than in this state that’s continued to vex them. But a decision this week by Rep. Val Demings, a rising Democratic star within the party who made Joe Biden’s vice presidential shortlist, to move toward challenging GOP Sen. Marco Rubio has both national and Florida Democrats cautiously optimistic.

Several sources close to the former Orlando police chief have confirmed to the Cook Political Report (along with numerous other outlets) that the African-American congresswoman intends to make her Senate bid official next month. Demings had been weighing either a Senate run or a challenge to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis — who a few months ago looked more vulnerable than Rubio but has since seen his numbers rise after the state’s more aggressive COVID reopening strategy.

More from the Cook Political Report