AFN has reported in past weeks about "toss-up" Senate races that could ultimately determine which party will be the majority come January 2022. Anywhere from six to eight closely contested Senate races – e.g., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, and Arizona – have been highlighted as too close to call, according to polls.
While RealClearPolitics doesn't currently include Florida among those toss-up races, it does describe the Sunshine State as "leans GOP" instead of "likely GOP." And with so many tight Senate races, Republicans can ill afford to lose there, where Republican Marco Rubio (pictured above) is seeking his third term. His opponent in the general election will be Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who won overwhelmingly in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Polls over the past nine months have shown Rubio with leads anywhere from 7 to 12 points. But a pre-primary poll conducted by the University of North Florida shows Demings with a 4-point lead over Rubio. That same poll gauged preferences in the governor's race, showing Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis leading Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 8 points.
Rob Chambers, vice president of AFA Action, expects voter support for DeSantis will help Rubio.
"I think this will be a down-ballot issue. I don't think as people are selecting Ron DeSantis for governor [that] they're going to get to Marco Rubio and then turn around and vote for Val Demings instead," he describes. "I just don't think that's going to be the case."
And Chambers says the UNF poll could be an anomaly. "I really don't know what that anomaly is [or] what would attribute to that, [but] something's just not right with that particular poll," he shares.
Chambers may be on to something about the UNF poll: leading up to Tuesday's Democratic primary for governor, it showed Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried with a 4-point lead over Crist. Fried, the only Democrat in Florida's cabinet, lost to Crist – a former Republican governor – by almost 25 points.