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In Florida, Democratic Rep. Val Demings has been battling for the Senate seat of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican. (AP) In Florida, Democratic Rep. Val Demings has been battling for the Senate seat of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican. (AP)

In Florida, Democratic Rep. Val Demings has been battling for the Senate seat of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican. (AP)

Yacob Reyes
By Yacob Reyes November 7, 2022

Democratic Rep. Val Demings outraised and outspent her opponent in Florida's U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio. Still, she faces an uphill battle to unseat him from an office he's occupied since 2011.

Demings, a former police chief elected to the House of Representatives in 2016, borrowed attacks from some of Rubio's past political adversaries, including former President Donald Trump. Her ads highlighted the oft-repeated criticism of his attendance record, past denial of climate change and votes on prescription drug prices. 

Rubio, first elected to the Senate in 2010, spent much of his campaign casting doubt on Demings' credentials. He questioned her support of law enforcement and bashed her for having "radical" positions on abortion. Rubio often accused Demings of siding with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "100% of the time."

Below is a recap of some key fact-checks in the Senate race.

Demings: "Rubio is following his party bosses, like Rick Scott, with his plan to raise taxes on Florida's working families, retirees and veterans."

This was one of the earliest attacks from Demings against Rubio, and it rated False.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott introduced a plan that said, "All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax." But there is no evidence that Rubio backed Scott's proposal. Demings' campaign could not point to news coverage or statements from Rubio to show otherwise. 

Rubio's campaign said he did not "support raising taxes."

Rubio: Demings "called abolishing the police' thoughtful.'"

This is False

Rubio misrepresented what Demings said when asked about a proposal in Minneapolis to dismantle the police. Demings didn't take a position on the measure, adding that she believed community leaders and law enforcement would collaborate to improve policing.

Throughout her campaign, Demings criticized the notion of diverting funds from law enforcement. In a TV spot in June, she said, "In the Senate, I'll protect Florida from bad ideas. Defunding the police: That's just crazy."

Demings: Rubio has "one of the worst attendance records in the Senate."

This is Mostly True

Demings' claim is accurate based on the percentage of roll call votes Rubio missed throughout his decade as a senator. Rubio has missed 352, or 9.2%, of 3,843 roll call votes, according to GovTrack, ​​a nonpartisan website that collects congressional data. One of the reasons was his unsuccessful run for the presidency. 

Rubio: "Demings supports abortion up until the moment of birth."

This is Mostly False

Demings said, on multiple occasions, that she supports abortion up to "the point of viability," or when the fetus can survive outside the womb. Fetal viability is generally around 24 weeks into a pregnancy, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Demings also said she supported an exception if the pregnancy "threatens the health of the woman," and voted for a bill that affirmed that stance. Abortions later in pregnancy are rare and involve maternal or fetal complications.

Demings: Rubio "has denied climate change."

This is Half True.

For about a decade, Rubio denied or downplayed humans' role in changing or worsening the climate. In recent years, he has acknowledged that humans contribute to climate change.

On Feb. 7, 2020, Rubio said: "Changes in our climate, such as the rise of sea levels, are measurable facts. Many communities in Florida are already dealing with the consequences of these changes and will have to adapt to and mitigate against their impact for decades to come."

Rubio: Demings "voted to allow transgender youth sports and teaching radical gender identity without parental consent."

This is Half True.

Demings supported the Equality Act, which would have allowed students nationwide to compete on sports teams based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth. But the measure did not address school curriculum.

Rubio: Demings "voted with Pelosi to raise taxes over $4,000 on Florida families."

This is Mostly False

Rubio was referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed with support only from Democrats, including Pelosi and Demings. But the law does not include a blanket tax increase for Florida taxpayers. The source of Rubio's figure uses questionable methodology modeled over 10 years to measure the secondary effects passed down to U.S. households.

Read this story in Spanish.

RELATED: Val Demings on the Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: Marco Rubio on the Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: The only Florida Senate debate between Demings and Rubio, fact-checked

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