Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has won a third term in the Senate, NBC News projects. Democrats had eyed the seat as potentially vulnerable, but in the end that hope was dashed with Rubio’s win against Democratic Rep. Val Demings.
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On paper, Demings was the most formidable candidate Rubio has faced running for the Senate, and for much of the election cycle, Rubio was seen as one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents. But he spent most of the general election ahead in polls — Demings trailed by just 2.4 points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average not long before the primary, but that gap grew steadily as Election Day approached. The one debate between the Senate candidates on Oct. 18 had Democrats hopeful that Demings could get the momentum she needed to overcome that deficit. Demings hammered Rubio on guns and abortion, but Rubio, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, won out in the end.
Since he joined the Senate, Rubio has been a reliable vote for the GOP leadership, rarely crossing party lines. That includes voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, restoring voting rights and setting up an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. His victory portends six more years of Republican rubber-stamping.