Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Val Demings says women have the power to swing the upcoming Florida election.
Part of how that’s possible? She says she believes she can capture the votes of women who previously supported her opponent, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
“We are already seeing the pendulum start to swing,” Demings told the Herald. “Every person in the state of Florida, regardless of their politics and regardless of their gender, should have their constitutional rights protected. And I think when Marco Rubio is willing to take away those rights, people are not going to stand back and allow that to happen.”
Demings was referring to comments her opponent made to CBS Miami on Thursday, when he said he opposes all abortion regardless of the circumstance — even in cases of rape or incest.
“I do not believe that the dignity and the worth of human life is tied to the circumstances of their conception,” Rubio told the television station. “But I recognize that that’s not a majority position.”
The next day, Demings’ campaign announced the launch of “Demings for Women,” with a kickoff event held at the Firefighters Memorial Building in Doral on Friday night.
“We do not want to live in an America or a Florida where my four granddaughters have less rights than I have,” said Demings, who is the former Orlando police chief and a current member of Congress. “I believe anyone who would not fight to protect women and protect our daughters, our girls, doesn’t deserve to hold office.”
The crowd of about 100 women and a handful of men chanted “Let’s go, Val!” in the building’s event room, adorned with a crystal chandelier. The cheers continued as a group of about eight speakers took to at the podium before Demings, culminating in a standing ovation when it was time for Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to speak.
Levine Cava, who described Demings as “a dear friend,” gave a full-throated endorsement.
“Like so many women, she has been underestimated every step of the way. Every step of the way,” Levine Cava said. “She does not shy away from the hard work. She definitely kicks butt, and she can still take prisoners.”
Through the event’s general message of women’s empowerment, a political strategy emerged, with several speakers encouraging the audience to volunteer their time, join phone banks and spread the message about Demings throughout their networks.
“I know that all of you all are with the chief. But what I am gonna do is give you a strategy,” said state Rep. Felicia Robinson, D-Miami Gardens. “Talk to people and let ‘em know who you are, because when you have those conversations, they want to be able to relate to some of the things that you talk about. And then after you do that, then you start telling them why they need to get out and vote, and why they need to vote for Chief Val Demings.”
“We need you all to go and share this message with at least 10 other people,” Robinson added. “That’s at least—not a max—at least 10 other people.”