The last time two-term Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was on a prime-time debate stage was in 2016 when he wilted under withering personal attacks by then-fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who famously belittled him as “Little Marco.”
On Oct. 18, Val Demings (Republican from Florida) attempted to again rattle Rubio using similar schoolyard tactics.
But this time, Rubio didn’t lose his footing, and dished it out as much as Demings did in their first—and only—debate, calling the three-term congressional rep and former Orlando Police chief an “extremist” who espouses across-the-board “crazy” progressive policies.
The hour-long event was hosted by WPBF 25, West Palm Beach, and held three weeks before voters vote on Nov. 8. It was contentious and laced with insults. However, it offered moments of substantive clarity and clearly defined distinctions between incumbent and challenger.
There was some agreement. Both pledged to lobby for more federal assistance for Floridians in Hurricane Ian’s wake—Rubio touting his…