Marco Rubio wins reelection despite being drastically outspent as Florida slips away as swing state

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida easily won reelection in Florida despite being drastically outspent by Democrats in a sign that the Sunshine State is becoming solidly Republican.

Democratic Representative Val Demings, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2016, significantly outraised Mr Rubio in the race. Ms Demings’ October quarterly filing showed that she raised $17m in net contributions in the final quarter of the election.

By comparison, Mr Rubio, who was running for a third term for Senate, raised $7.4m in the most recent quarter. A former Republican presidential candidate, Mr Rubio was long thought to be a rising star in the Republican Party but has mostly kept a low-profile since his campaign ended.

Mr Rubio stands to be the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee if Republicans win the Senate majority. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, the top Republican on the committee, is set to retire at the end of the year.

The two had engaged in a vicious debate last year and Ms Demings had many viral moments, including when she lambasted Mr Rubio for his stance on abortion, specifically when it comes to exceptions for rape and incest.

“Now as a police detective who investigated cases of rape and incest no Senator, I don't think it's okay for a 10-year old girl to be raped and have to carry the seed of her rapists,” she said last month. “No, I don't think it's okay for you to make decisions for women and girls.”

A former chief of the Orlando Police Department, Ms Demings still struggled to earn the support of law enforcement as Republicans have successfully painted most Democrats with remarks from their most left-wing members who have called for reducing funding for police departments.

Ms Demings for her part served as an impeachment manager during the first trial against former president Donald Trump in 2020. But Mr Trump grew his support in Florida in 2020, largely on the strength of his support from Latino voters, after winning the state in 2016.

Florida has seen a large amount of inward migration in recent years due to the fact the state has no income tax and for the weather. Similarly, many migrants from Venezuela fleeing the regime of Nicolás Maduro are overwhelmingly conservative. That group compounds the already-conservative Cuban-American demographic.

Republicans have responded in kind by depicting Democrats largely socialist. Similarly, last year, Republicans finally eclipsed Democrats in voter registration after lagging behind them.

But Mr Rubio is not the only Republican likely to win an overwhelming victory. Governor Ron DeSantis is set to win re-election by a comfortable margin and in 2018, Rick Scott beat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.