UPDATE: 11:05 AM: Adds Demings’ response
WASHINGTON — The fledgling campaign of ex-Orlando police chief Val Demings got a boost Monday morning when the fundraising group EMILY’s List — which describes its mission as “electing pro-choice Democratic women to office” — announced its early support for the rookie politician.
“We could not be more excited that Val Demings has announced her candidacy for Florida’s eighth congressional district and we are proud to put her ‘On the List’,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, in a statement.
The early pledge of support is a sign that Demings has begun corralling establishment backing, even with the possibility of a primary showdown with former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando.
In its release announcing its support for Demings, EMILY’s List noted it had raised more than $38.5 million during the 2009-2010 election cycle. The group previously has backed former U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach.
Not surprisingly, the Demings’ campaign embraced the help.
“The campaign is thrilled to get the support of EMILY’s List. It really speaks to the building excitement about Val’s candidacy and how strong and viable a candidate she is. In the coming months, the campaign is going to remain focused on building the network of supporters and grassroots organization in Orlando necessary to win this campaign,” wrote a campaign spokesman.