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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wins reelection, keeping the seat for the GOP

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seen in Palm Beach County last month. He was reelected, keeping a critical seat in the Senate for Republicans who hope to seize control and break the 50-50 split.
Thomas Cordy
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AP
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seen in Palm Beach County last month. He was reelected, keeping a critical seat in the Senate for Republicans who hope to seize control and break the 50-50 split.

Follow live updates and results from Election Day 2022 here.

Florida's Republican incumbent Marco Rubio has been reelected to the U.S. Senate, beating his Democratic opponent in a key battleground state.

Rubio maintained a steady lead against the Democratic candidate, Rep. Val Demings, in the weeks leading up to election night. Demings had hoped to oust Rubio and improve the Democrats' majority in the Senate.

The national outlook for control of the Senate shifted four weeks before election night, with Republicans favored to retake the majority, NPR previously reported.

The candidates squared off in a debate three weeks before election night, where Rubio and Demings swapped blows about issues such as inflation, abortion, the Second Amendment and voting rights.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Democratic candidate for the  Senate, holds a press conference last month in Miami.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Democratic candidate for the Senate, holds a press conference last month in Miami.

During the debate Rubio accused the Biden administration of releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to win votes. And when Demings, a former Orlando police chief currently serving in the House of Representatives, accused the senator of not doing enough to prevent school shootings, he countered that her suggested precautions would have stopped nothing.

"Everything she is for would have done nothing to stop any of those shootings," Rubio said during the debate. "Every one of these shooters would have passed the background check that she keeps insisting on. No one here is in favor of mass shootings and violence."

It's unclear what would have happened had Rubio not won. In September, the senator joined 11 other Republicans — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — in declining to answer whether they would accept the election results, The Washington Post reported.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.