Democratic candidates line up to fill Val Demings’ House seat

ORLANDO, Fla. — The race to replace Congresswoman Val Demings has begun, even though she hasn’t technically announced that she’s leaving.

Three major candidates have already declared their intentions to run in the Central Florida district.

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Demings announced last week that she’s seriously considering a challenge to Republican Senator Marco Rubio for his seat.

She’s seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, making President Joe Biden’s short list for Vice President nominees.

Her district is reliably Democratic, and her expected vacancy is creating a race among Democrats to replace her.

Florida State Senator Randolph Bracy has announced plans to run, as has former State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

Prominent Civil Rights Attorney Natalie Jackson has also entered.

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“It’s going to be a race,” UCF Political Science Professor John Hanley says. “There is no one there that’s pushing out the others automatically, but it also depends on how blue this district is.”

District 10- which currently which encompasses western Orange County- is reliably Democratic, with black or Hispanic voters making up half the electorate. The district is also an average of six years younger than the rest of the state as a whole.

However, as Dr. Hanley notes, that could change when Florida Republicans redraw the state’s congressional maps later this year.

“We don’t even know what those districts are going to look like yet, because we don’t even have their districting data yet in order to make those districts,” Dr. Hanley says.

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Depending on where the lines are drawn, the deeply blue 10th District could become much more red.

Voters will officially get their say when Florida holds its primary elections in August of 2022.