Nikki Fried potentially leading the Florida Democrats into its rebuilding period raises so many red flags, it’s impossible to concisely outline them in a single piece. What’s worse is the whataboutism and justifications given by Fried’s supporters about her past and present actions in support of causes which aren’t aligned with the vast majority of Democratic voter preferences make my head hurt.
So let’s just take one element of a potential leadership role of Fried in the FDP for now – her relationship with Attorney General Ashley Moody to whom she donated $2,000 to in July 2017 is a major red flag. Moody won the GOP nomination and defeated Democratic nominee Sean Shaw in the November 2018 election – the same election where Fried appeared on the ballot as Democrat.
Fried’s donations to other GOPers have been the subject of much conversation, and we will dive into that for sure in the coming days. But the Moody donation and her long-standing friendship with the current Attorney General cannot be reconciled with leading Florida Democrats.
Let’s assume Moody is the nominee for Governor in 2026, while Fried is serving as FDP Chair. I have seen situations like this before in local county parties where punches are pulled slightly, but just enough to ensure the Democratic nominee or defacto Democrat (in non-partisan local races) loses because the party chair allocates resources elsewhere, claiming other races are more “winnable.” Moody then waltzes into the Governor’s Office, Fried leaves as FDP Chair and resumes her lobbying career. You can see how this might turn out.
Florida Democrats have multiple good choices for Chair that are not Nikki Fried. However, given the danger of splitting the vote, it’s now becoming increasingly imperative that those concerned about the party’s future direction need to unite behind Annette Taddeo, who will provide a new direction for the party – one which isn’t tainted by the associations and agendas of the insider clique resisting changes including reforming party rules and structures.