With the 2022 midterm elections quickly approaching, challengers have begun to stake their claim for seats being held by incumbents who plan to run for reelection. This is the case for Marco Rubio who will have served two full terms in the U.S. Senate by the end of 2022. However, Democrat and two-time congressional candidate from Highlands County Allen Ellison has filed to challenge this well-rooted incumbent.
Ellison grew up in a rural community and went to South Florida State College to earn a degree in cosmetology. He said that he has “learned how to listen to people, how to connect, be open-minded, be resourceful, and solve problems,” through his experience.
Ellison is not a stranger to the fast-paced campaign lifestyle as he has run for Congress twice in the past against Greg Steube in Florida’s 17th congressional district. While Ellison lost both races, in 2018 he still received about 38% of the vote against Steube after running in place of Democrat April Freeman, who unfortunately died during her election bid. These previous campaigns have helped him gain the experience necessary for another federal election.
His campaign platform has centered on “improving the quality of life for all citizens,” which includes a focus on social security, health care, women’s roots, veterans care, disability benefits, infrastructure, education, sustainability, and healing the partisan divide in the country.
“We have watched career politicians stand by and do absolutely nothing for our people. We have watched them fill this nation with hate through their divisive rhetoric, and we have watched them line their pockets at the expense of the American people while our fellow citizens struggle to make ends meet. I say enough is enough,” Ellison stated in his announcement about filing for the seat.
There are also two other challengers who have filed to unseat Marco Rubio: Democrat Josue Larose and Independent Carlos Jose Barberena. However, according to FEC records, only Rubio and Ellison have attained any sort of money through general fundraising. This money will give Ellison a significant advantage against the other contenders vying to unseat Rubio as 2022 quickly approaches.
While Ellison has not held public office, he promises he will bring a new perspective to politics. He said, “We are in desperate need for visionary leaders with fresh ideas who care about the issues that matter to all of us.”
However, Ellison is predicted to face an uphill battle in unseating Rubio, one of the most prominent senators in current politics. Rubio has years of experience in the Senate and in public service as well as a previous presidential bid in 2016, which has earned him status as a household name within many Florida homes.
Incumbents like Rubio hold not only a financial advantage, but they also have an average of 8% ahead of their opponent. More recently, however, this advantage has started to diminish to 3%, specifically due to partisan ties. These circumstances make it possible for other candidates such as Ellison to break through the margin of error and come out victorious.
The November 2022 midterms will be a defining moment for either candidate, and both Ellison’s and Rubio’s early start to fundraising demonstrates the importance of this Senate race. While Ellison says he wants to become, “Florida’s newest voice in Washington” and that he doesn’t “plan to stop working hard anytime soon,” he and Rubio will have their work cut out for them.
Featured image: A ‘vote here, vote aqui’ sign in Orlando, Florida. Unmodified image by Erik (HASH) Hersman used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/3ceItRd)
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