Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who is looking to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, did not say Tuesday during a televised debate whether she would accept the results of the Florida Senate election.
Asked by Rick Christie, the executive director of The Palm Beach Post who served as a panelist during the debate, whether she would “accept results of the 2022 election,” Demings did not provide a clear answer and told a story about how her mother and father cherished voting.
“Let me start here if I may. My mother the maid and a janitor worked long hard days, but I can never remember a time when they did not vote,” she said. “If their own car wasn’t working, they’d pay somebody a couple of dollars to take them to the polls. Why on earth would we try to stop them from voting? They were able to vote because of our democracy, the wonderful system of government that we have. No, it is not perfect, but our system of government is what allows us to be here tonight.”
“We have to do everything in our power to uphold the constitution, protect the rule of law, and protect our democracy, and protect each person’s – Republicans’, Democrats’, and independents’ – right to vote. That’s what I did as a police officer and a police chief. I took an oath that I would protect and serve, defend the constitution, not just for people who looked like me or the richest of the rich, but for all people,” she concluded.
“First of all, I don’t know who the rich are cause my dad was a bartender … and my mom was a janitor, so we have that in common,” Rubio responded. “I will tell you this much, never have I denied an election, ever. I’m not like Stacey Abrams in Georgia who denied her election, I’ve never denied an election. I think in Florida we have great election laws, but I think elections have to have rules. Congresswoman Demings supported this effort to have a federal takeover of elections. What would that look like? You can’t ask for ID. You have to ask for ID to get into her neighborhood where she lives and you have every right to have that, but you can’t ask for it when they vote?”
Rubio defended election laws in Florida, saying they are “rules that allow people to have confidence that their vote counted and their vote mattered.”
Asked the same question, Rubio said he would “absolutely” support the outcome of the election because of Florida’s “great” election laws.
“Sure, cause I’m gonna win,” Rubio said. “I’m looking forward to supporting that, but yes, no matter what the outcome is I’ll support it because Florida has good laws. They’re not the crazy laws like they have in Pennsylvania and these other places.”
The debate was held at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus.
According to poll of likely voters conducted by Spectrum News/Siena College in September, Rubio leads Demings 48% to 41%.
Fox News’ Power Rankings rates the Florida Senate race as “lean Republican.”
Rubio and Demings will go head-to-head in the Sunshine State’s November 8 midterm election.