Besides Demings, three other Democratic candidates are in the primary for U.S. Senate seat

By: - August 17, 2022 3:04 pm

Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

While U.S. Rep. Val Demings has been in the spotlight as she attempts to oust Republican Marco Rubio from the U.S. Senate, three other Democrats are listed on the ballot in the Aug. 23 primary election.

They are Democrats William J. Sanchez, Brian Rush and Ricardo De La Fuente.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings. Credit: Demings’ Twitter account.

Demings, an Orlando Democrat and former Orlando police chief, is the only woman in the Democratic primary race.

She’s been raising the most money in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, according to campaign finance records from the Federal Election Commission — about $47.9 million from January of 2021 to August. Rubio has raised about $29.3 million in that same time period.

But Democratic voters will also see three males on the ballot. Here’s some information about those three candidates.

William J. Sanchez

William J. Sanchez. Credit: William J. Sanchez & Associates, P.A.

Sanchez is a New York native living in South Florida, according to his campaign website. He describes himself as a father, lawyer and business owner. In 2004, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Special Counsel for the Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel, Unfair Employment Practices, according to this campaign website.

He’s raised about $262,000 since last year, according to FEC campaign finance data. Sanchez attended the University of Miami, majoring in economics and later obtained his Jurist Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center, according to his website.

His campaign points to issues such as fighting for the poor, elders and children “whose parents can’t afford health insurance.”

Brian Rush


Brian Rush. Credit: Brian Rush’s Facebook page

Rush has raised about $46,000 for his campaign in the Senate race, according to finance data from the FEC. According to his campaign website, Rush is from the Tampa Bay area and a former member of the Florida House of Representatives.

He is a lawyer representing small businesses and families. “As a member of the Tampa Bay community, I coach youth football and I help many Florida families with their legal problems,” Rush said in a video. “I’ve been working for Florida families and small businesses ever since.”

According to his campaign website, Rush says, “I am running for the United States Senate in Florida as a candidate who is fiscally responsible, and a strong defender of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans benefits.”

Ricardo De La Fuente

Ricardo De La Fuente. Credit: Fuente’s Twitter page

FEC campaign finance data show that Fuente didn’t report money raised for his campaign. His campaign website doesn’t include much information about his background and education. But according to his LinkedIn page, Fuente  ran for Congress in Texas in 2020.

He’s also an accomplished athlete, with achievements in swimming and long-distance running. According to Ballotpedia, Feunte was born in San Diego, California.

According to his website, Fuente says:

“As a second-generation immigrant, I experienced firsthand the grit required to build success out of little more than dreams. In developing my own green energy enterprise, leading emergency relief during the pandemic, and raising funds for those in need, I’ve experienced the excitement of bringing people together for the benefit of all. So, while Florida will continue to face challenges in extreme weather events, affordable health care for all, and meaningful well-paying job creation, I am prepared to defy both the odds and the political structures to fight together for the future of every Floridian.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.