Florida Senate: Marco Rubio and Val Demings target themselves on immigration, gun control

A debate between the two Florida Senate candidates – incumbent GOP Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Val Demings – ignited as the two targeted each other on a number of issues, including including rising prices, abortion, gun control and immigration.

Notably absent from Tuesday night’s debate held at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus was the issue of crime, which Republicans prioritized in the election amid rising crime rates in several major American cities. .

Asked about rising costs, from housing to gasoline, and how they will “help families now” after trillions of dollars have been used by the government for pandemic relief in America, the two candidates contested the policies that their adversary. had argued in the past.

Rubio insisted that government spending led to higher inflation, saying the Democrats “have been warned by Larry Summers, other Democratic economists, if you do this, you will increase inflation” and insisted that that a solution to the question would be American oil production.


Florida Senate candidates, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, and Democrat Representative Val Demings, argue in Palm Beach County on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.
(Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post via AP)

“We have to produce American oil again,” Rubio said. “Why are we asking for oil from Saudi Arabia? They exist to win in the medium term. They exist to help this country in an emergency or in the midst of a storm. What we can’t do is some of these crazy left-wing policies that Congresswoman Demings has been advocating. “

Responding to Rubio’s criticism, Demings said, “Obviously the senator who never did anything but his mouth would know nothing about helping people and being there for people when they’re in trouble. Nobody planned it. pandemic, but our answer is everything. Individuals were sick, families were sick, companies were sick. We passed the CARES law.

“Your number one job as a US Senator is to protect the safety, health and well-being of the American people,” he added. “You’ve been there for 24 years …”

Rubio also accused the congresswoman, who currently represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District and previously served as head of the Orlando Police Department from 2007 to 2011, of “never passing a bill” during her tenure at the Congress.

“The congresswoman likes to talk about helping people. She’s never passed a bill. She never passed a single bill. She’s been in Congress for over half a decade, she’s never passed a bill. Not a single bill. [Paycheck Protection Program], nothing at all. Not a single thing he went through ever became law. “

Demings denied Rubio’s claim and said, “That’s not true.”

First lady Jill Biden attends a rally for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., And Florida governor candidate Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., On October 15, 2022 in Orlando, Florida .

First lady Jill Biden attends a rally for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., And Florida governor candidate Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., On October 15, 2022 in Orlando, Florida .
(Gerardo Mora / Getty Images)

“I’m really disappointed in you, Marco Rubio, because I think there was a time when you didn’t lie to win. I don’t know what happened to you. You know it’s not true,” she said. Demings said he approved a measure during his first term in Congress to “help law enforcement with mental health programs.”

The two also questioned the abortion issue, with Demings claiming his opponent does not support exemptions for the procedure, including rape and incest, and Rubio stating that Demings claims “no restrictions, no restrictions” on the procedure. abortion.


“The abortion extremist in this campaign is Congresswoman Demings,” Rubio said. “She supports no restrictions, no limitations of any kind. She is against the four-month ban, she voted against the five-month ban. She supports taxpayer-funded abortion, on demand, for any reason, at any time, until at the time of birth. “

“Senator, how much do you think Florida voters really are,” Demings replied. “You have made it clear that you have no exceptions, including rape and incest. Now, as a police detective who has investigated cases of rape and incest, no, Senator, I don’t think it’s okay for a ten-year-old girl to be raped and have to carry the seed of her rapist. No, I don’t think it’s right that you make decisions for women and girls as a senator. I think those decisions are made between the woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith. “

Demings said she “supports a woman’s right to choose up to the point of feasibility.” In response, Rubio insisted that it is a “vague” term that many Democrats use to provide a clear answer on limits.

“Every law I’ve ever passed has exceptions,” Rubio said. “We will never have a vote on a law that has no exceptions because that is where most of the American people are and I respect and understand that.”

Senator Marco Rubio speaks to supporters during a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at Horsepower Ranch in Geneva.

Senator Marco Rubio speaks to supporters during a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at Horsepower Ranch in Geneva.
(Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

On the issue of gun violence in America, Demings insisted that Rubio did not address the issue and did little to anticipate bills that would prevent people from obtaining weapons to cause harm.

“You did nothing. Nothing to address gun violence and help take dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people,” Demings said. “Our primary responsibility is the safety of the Floridians and the senator, 24 years in elective office and you are not yet up to that occasion and then when you are asked to say something that does not make sense.”


In response, Rubio said: “What doesn’t make sense is that we will actually pass laws that only law-abiding people will follow and that criminals will continue to violate.”

“The truth is, Americans ultimately have the Second Amendment right to protect themselves,” he added. “These killers who are out there, if the intent is to kill as it is, have found several ways to seize weapons and cause mass destruction … I have a bipartisan red flag law, sponsored with Senator Jack Reed, but The problem is that leftists in the Senate and House, like Congresswoman Demings, are against it because they want the California red flag law that allows your colleague who holds a grudge against you to go to a judge and take your guns off. , I will never support “.

The two candidates were also asked about the immigration crisis and whether they support a recent policy change by the Biden administration to send Venezuelans who arrive at the American border back to Venezuela and prevent them from seeking asylum in America again.

“You mean Joe Biden just instituted Trump’s return policy to Mexico,” Rubio said. “There’s nothing else, that’s exactly what he did. Congressman Demings said what’s going on at the border is nothing unusual. We have 5,000 people a day crossing the border. You know how many people have entered illegally. in our country since Joe Biden took over as president? 5 million. “

“There is no country in the world that can tolerate, allow or afford 5,000 people a day who come to your border saying the magic words and gaining asylum. And she says it’s not a problem. She says there is nothing unusual. This can’t continue, it needs to be fixed.

Demings responded by referring to his career as a police officer and chief of police, saying, “We are a nation of laws. I have applied them for 27 years.”

Florida Democratic Senate candidate Val Demings, left, and current Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio, right.

Florida Democratic Senate candidate Val Demings, left, and current Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio, right.
(Eva Marie Uzcategui / Bloomberg, Gerardo Mora via Getty Images)

“Despite what the senator wants you to believe, he lives in a fantastic land,” he said. “We need to make sure the men and women at the border have the resources they need. I’m a fan of boots on the field, but we need to hire more processors … We are a nation of laws. We need to enforce the law, but we also need to obey the law that says that people in difficulty can seek asylum in this country “.


“The senator likes to talk about open borders. It is almost an insult to the men and women who are there to protect the border,” he added.

Rubio, in response, said that “the only one who has insulted the people who work at the border are Joe Biden and the Democrats who accuse them of whipping Haitian migrants and this proved to be true”.

According to poll of probable voters conducted by Spectrum News / Siena College in September, Rubio leads Demings from 48% to 41%.

Fox News Power Charts views the Florida Senate run as a “lean Republican.”

Rubio and Demings will compete in the mid-term elections on November 8 in the Sunshine State.

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