Marco Rubio whines to donors 'I can't believe there is more support' for Val Demings -- and he might be right
CNN screenshot/Val Deming Facebook

A "pleading" email was sent out to donors this week by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is facing a serious challenge from Rep. Val Demings.

Rubio's urgent tone is typical of fundraising solicitations from politicians, but his choice of words was unusually lacking in confidence:

"I just can't believe that there is more support for a Trump Impeachment Manager than for a strong Conservative leader," the letter states. "Even after extending my End of Month Deadline, we are still not on track to reach our goal. To be honest, we are about 3,000 donations behind our target."

In another race, that language might be dismissed as a scare technique. But in this one, Rubio's pandering looks more like punditry.

Demings is indeed challenging Rubio with the aid of her national fame she garnered as a manager in the first impeachment of Donald Trump. And after a Facebook blitz, her fundraising message sounds far more positive.

For months Democrats have been concerned about Demings' low visibility as a campaigner in Florida, Politico reported last month. But it added that this might have been part of a larger strategy:

"Now Demings has an answer for her whereabouts: She was campaigning almost exclusively on Facebook, growing an army of small-dollar donors across the nation on her way to raising a staggering $8.5 million in the most recent fundraising quarter —$2.4 million more than Rubio reported and more than any Senate challenger in the country between July and October.

"Her fundraising haul provided a sudden burst of hope to Florida's beleaguered Democrats, who reveled at the idea of a cash-flush Senate nominee whose star power sparked the imagination of Democrats across the country."

Politico hastened to add that "the recent road to the Senate is littered with Democratic candidates whose talent for minting money from national online donors masked weakness back home." And it's obvious that Demings has her work cut out for home at home, as reported recently at

But the magazine also suggested that Demings' national outreach might ultimately pay off at home.

"To raise the record sum, Demings had to leave Florida — virtually, that is. She spent nearly 80 percent of her digital money targeting donors — especially middle-aged and older women — who live outside the state, according to an analysis from Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI), a top Democratic digital firm. Since entering the Senate race in early June, the analysis shows, Demings dropped $2.8 million on Facebook ads, more than any other candidate in the nation. Her spending made her the 8th-highest advertiser on the platform overall.

'The payout from Demings' all-in-on-Facebook campaign — the first of its kind for a major Florida candidate — did more than just surprise Republicans and Rubio allies. It also reassured national Democrats that the key swing state — which has turned a deeper shade of red in recent years — can still command the kind of money that Democrats need to win here statewide.

"Demings' small-donor strategy — her average contribution was $28.45 from 172,000 contributors — could entice institutional fundraisers and top donors back, according to Ben LaBolt, a founder of BPI."

For the moment, at least, that's far more upbeat than the tone coming from the Rubio campaign. Here's more from Rubio's letter:

"I know you hear from my team and me a lot, but this is critical. We are on the brink of losing Trump's home state to someone who votes with the Socialist Squad 94% of the time. I hope you understand how deeply concerning that is."