Democrats agonize over who should try to dethrone Rubio

The race to challenge Sen. Marco Rubio may turn into another battle that pits the Democrats’ progressive faction against its moderate establishment — to Rubio’s possible benefit. Democrats initially hoped that Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a moderate Democrat who fled Communist Vietnam as a child, would be the strongest challenger to the conservative Cuban-American Republican in Florida’s 2022 Senate race. The 42-year-old Murphy first won her seat by toppling 12-term incumbent GOP Rep. John Mica and has since won two more races in a highly competitive central Florida district. While Murphy ponders jumping into the Senate race, she may find her path blocked by Aramis Ayala, a former state attorney whose political career was aided by billionaire George Soros and who could be helped again by a network of liberal donors. Aramis served one term as state attorney in Orange and Osceola counties, the growing heart of central Florida that has turned into one of the state’s Democratic bastions.