Next week, the senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump will begin. While the outcome is predictable in the GOP controlled legislative body, the circumstances have pushed Orlando Congresswoman Val Demings, on the nation’s highest political stage this year that doesn’t involve an election.
And it’s exactly where she is supposed to be.
“Chief” as I still call her by reflex, had a tough beginning transitioning from being the Chief of Police here in Orlando (the first woman to hold the position) to politics. She lost her first election to her colleague Daniel Webster in 2012, and after an awkward, short-lived run for Orange County Mayor against her husband’s predecessor, Teresa Jacobs, many wondered if she was ever going to be elected to public office. Then in 2016 she rolled into the redrawn west Orlando district, and was easily reelected in 2018. She’ll probably win again this year.
So this trial is her election.
She’s plenty qualified to be there. In addition to her law enforcement experience, she was on both house committees involved with the impeachment. Demings is also close to house speaker Nancy Pelosi, who put her in a primetime slot in front of the country at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
The trial also gives her the opportunity to attack in front of the television cameras. This is where she has placed the majority of her priorities during her time in congress.
Depending on how this trial goes, she could be a tough draw in a run for higher office. In a democratic primary, it’s difficult to top prosecuting President Trump’s impeachment and given the future of redistricting in the rapidly growing Orlando community, she could force anyone drawn into her district to change their career plans.
As for the next couple of weeks, it rewards Demings to be aggressive while in the national spotlight. There are no conservative votes she has to earn in the immediate future, only moderate and progressive ones, and the latter certainly wants a fireworks show at the President’s expense.
Now Chief has the chance to give it to them.