TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Marco Rubio is projected to defeat Val Demings and retain his U.S. Senate seat, NBC News reports.
You can view the live vote count below.
Rubio, a Republican senator who has represented Florida in the U.S. Senate since 2011, once served as a city commissioner in West Miami before he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, and later the U.S. Senate. Rubio became the Speaker of the Florida House in 2006.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Rubio touted his projected win of Miami-Dade County, which has long been a Democrat stronghold. He accused the Democrats of abandoning the working class.
“When you see the results across the country tonight, this is what it’s all about,” Rubio said. “The people who make this country great have been forgotten.”
Demings, a Democratic U.S. Congresswoman, is fighting Rubio for his Senate seat. Before she was elected to the U.S. House in 2016, Demings served as an officer in the Orlando Police Department, eventually rising in the ranks to be Orlando’s first female chief of police in 2007. She later served as the representative for Florida’s 10th U.S. Congressional District.
Rep. Demings addressed supporters in Orlando after her projected loss Tuesday night. She thanked her campaign staff who worked tirelessly through the election cycle as she balanced campaigning with her congressional duties.
Demings said she accepted the results of the election and conceded to Rubio.
“I stand by the decision of the people,” Demings said. “We are a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
As of Monday, nearly 2.3 million Floridians had voted at early polling locations and more than 2.6 million ballots had been cast by mail, according to the Florida Division of Elections. There were also about 1.7 million vote-by-mail ballots that had not yet been returned.
Why this race matters
Control of the U.S. Senate is currently in Democrat hands with a razor-thin majority, thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. The race between Rubio and Demings could have helped decide which party is in charge, in addition to other key senate contests across the U.S.
The Florida race has garnered attention from prominent players in national politics, with President Biden and former President Trump each holding rallies to stump for their party’s candidate in the days leading up to the election.
- Live election results
- Tampa Bay voter guide
- Where to vote in Tampa Bay on Election Day
- Election night: Live results and analysis
- Key races to watch in Florida
- Check the status of your mail ballot
- Balance of power tracker
This is a developing story. Stay up to date on the latest Election Day coverage from News Channel 8 on-air and on the go with the free WFLA News Channel 8 mobile app.