Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a rising Democratic star who was seriously considering challenging Republican Sen. Marco Rubio next year for his seat, announced Monday that she will forgo a Senate run and instead will seek reelection to her seat in the House.
Murphy’s decision comes shortly after fellow Florida Democrat Rep. Val Demings announced she was considering a run for the seat. Murphy passing on a Senate run avoids setting up a potentially brutal primary ahead of what will be an expensive and difficult general election match up against Rubio.
In a video statement announcing her plans, Murphy left open the option of running for statewide office in Florida in the future and promised to help Florida Democrats regain statewide electoral success. Florida Republicans have dominated statewide races for more than a decade. The last time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Florida was in 2012.
“We’ve had too many close losses in Florida, and so I wanted to use my experience from winning tough races to help the party prepare itself,” Murphy said in the video in which she called out both Rubio and Republican Sen. Rick Scott who’s up for reelection in 2024. “At the same time, I have been seriously considering a run for the US Senate in either 2022 or 2024. I am deeply disappointed by our current representation.”
In her message, Murphy acknowledged how a primary would leave Democrats in a difficult position.
“And the reality is that Marco Rubio will not be an easy opponent especially if it’s on the heels of a bruising primary where Democrats spend millions attacking each other instead of using those millions to build the infrastructure we desperately need to win,” she said.
Her campaign told CNN that she will seek reelection, which will be a key to Democratic hopes of retaining their House majority. Florida is anticipating a major redistricting shuffle as the state is gaining a congressional seat after the 2020 census. Republicans will control the redistricting process and Democrats are concerned Murphy’s district could be a target for a major shift.
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.