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Marco Rubio participates in a debate with Val Demings, at Palm Beach State College
Marco Rubio participates in a debate with Val Demings in Palm Beach County, Fla., on Oct. 18, 2022.Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post via AP Pool

Midterm elections roundup: Rubio, Demings tangle in contentious debate

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings sparred over a variety of issues on Tuesday night.

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Another day, another contentious debate in a battleground state — this time, Tuesday night’s Florida Senate debate between Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings. 

As NBC News’ Shaquille Brewster, Kailani Koenig and Zoë Richards reported, the two candidates repeatedly interrupted each other and landed personal attacks on a variety of issues, including the economy, immigration, their effectiveness as legislators and abortion. 

In one exchange that typified the night, Rubio blasted Demings as ineffective: “She’s never passed a single bill,” he said. “Not a single bill she’s passed has ever become law.” 

“That’s not true. I know the senator — look — and, and I’m really disappointed in you, Marco Rubio, because I think there was a time when you did not lie in order to win. I don’t know what happened to you. You know that is not true,” Demings replied.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Georgia Senate: Republican Herschel Walker has slammed Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock over alleged evictions at an Atlanta apartment building owned by a company tied to Warnock’s church, Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the company “maintained no recent evictions have taken place [but] there were eviction actions — called dispossessory warrants — filed against multiple residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New Hampshire Senate: Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Republican Don Bolduc faced off in a debate on Tuesday morning. Bolduc, a retired general, just got a boost on the campaign trail from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. And Politico reports on how Senate Republicans aren’t yet giving up on Bolduc despite spending millions in a failed bid to usher a more moderate candidate through the primary. 

Pennsylvania Senate: A new AARP poll showed a tightening race in Pennsylvania, with 48% backing Democratic John Fetterman and 46% backing Republican Mehmet Oz, per Politico. 

Wisconsin Senate: Democrats are going up with a new TV ad that includes a Wisconsin police officer criticizing Republican Sen. Ron Johnson on his comments about the Jan. 6 attack. 

Iowa Governor: Democrat Deidre DeJear is up with a new ad where she asks voters, “Are you sick of politics? Enough to surprise the so-called experts?”

Illinois Governor: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker debated Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey Tuesday night for the final time, sparring over the 2020 election, abortion and crime. 

Texas Governor: GOP Gov. Greg Abbott was notably missing from a list of speakers for former President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Texas, which was released Tuesday. Abbott and former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke released dueling TV ads on Tuesday, per AdImpact, with Abbott focusing on crime and O’Rourke releasing a spot that referenced the 2021 power grid failure, the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, and abortion.  

Kansas Governor: In a new ad, Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s campaign touts its endorsement from the state Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly last cycle. The president of the group calls her a “disappointment” in the spot. 

Nevada Governor: The Nevada Police Union voted that it had “no confidence” in Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, per the Nevada Independent. Sisolak’s campaign said the vote was part of the union’s “political stunts” amid contract negotiations. 

Oklahoma Governor: GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt, whose re-election is looking increasingly competitive, set a March 7 election for voters to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

Florida-27: In a new Spanish-language ad, Republican Rep. María Elvira Salazar’s campaign features supposed voters approving of her helping the police, denouncing socialism, supporting a bill on wild horses, voting to raise the age to buy certain semi-automatic weapons and more. 

Kansas-03: Republican Amanda Adkins is out with a new ad that says “If you know [Democratic Rep.] Sharice Davids, you know she’s nice enough. But you also know she’s not working hard enough for you” to address economic issues.  

New York-17: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney is getting some help from a super PAC as Republicans up their spending in the race, Politico reports.