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Val Demings plans to run for Senate against Rubio, sources say

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee was scheduled to hear testimony from the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Florida Rep. Val Demings plans to run for US Senate against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022, two sources familiar with the plan told CNN Tuesday.

“Val is an impressive and formidable candidate whose potential entrance would make the race against Rubio highly competitive,” said a national Democrat with knowledge of the campaign.

The news of Demings’ plans was first reported by Politico.

The Orlando Democratic lawmaker spent the last few months mulling over a statewide race and decided on a bid for the Senate, a source close to the congresswoman told CNN.

Her decision to run for Senate frees up the Democratic primary in the gubernatorial race in Florida, with Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist announcing earlier this month he is running to get his old seat back. State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is also eyeing a bid for governor.

Demings’ decision could put her in a primary fight against Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who is also considering a run against Rubio in 2022.

Born in 1957, she was the youngest of seven to a father who worked as a janitor and a mother who was a housekeeper — all descendants of slaves.

The would-be congresswoman attended segregated schools for much of her childhood, before attending and graduating from Florida State University with a degree in criminology.

After two years as a social worker, Demings joined the Orlando Police Department in 1983, where she rose through the ranks and in 2007 became the police chief. She retired from the police force in 2011 before unsuccessfully running for Congress in 2012 and Orange County mayor in 2014. She then successfully won her first elected office in 2016 when she won her congressional seat.

Demings’ national profile rose after she served as one of the Democratic House impeachment managers charged with making the case against former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial.

The Florida congresswoman also was among the contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020.