The GOP and entrenched business interests in this state were fearful of a Charlie Crist restoration in the Governor’s Mansion. While it’s was arguably fair for those Democratic voters solely motivated by social issues or performance art to obsesses about Crist’s years as a GOP officeholder in the state, traditional Democrats like myself who focus on issues of the environment and economics know that Charlie Crist had long been a champion for Florida’s citizenry irrespective of his party affiliation.
Crist’s most notable opponent in the 2022 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary was Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who now is seeking to chair the Florida Democratic Party. For those who were not paying attention, Fried’s behavior during that campaign was erratic bordering on comical at times. She attacked the media in a very Trumpy fashion (see below), while meandering all over the shop, including suing the Biden Administration , attacking Crist as a disloyal Democrat, bragging about flying maskless on a commercial flight and posting pictures of herself with a beer saying that was how she was going to win North Florida (stereotype and patronize much?). This was while Fried’s campaign was bankrolled by some of the very same business and polluter interests whose goal in politics has been to maintain GOP hegemony in this state. Fried was a perfect stalking horse for those malevolent interests, considering the number of GOPers Fried has backed openly in the past, including donating to Attorney General Ashley Moody’s campaign AFTER Donald Trump became President.
Fried was also very clearly aligned with the sugar industry which I personally cannot tolerate. Fried also appeared to be in alliance with FPL, after their unprecedented attacks on solar and efforts to steal State Senate seats for the GOP.
Floridians face an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis at the same time as the Democratic Party has hit rock bottom. How can Nikki Fried be trusted to be the face and leader of the opposition to Governor DeSantis given the way she ran her campaign? Nikki Fried’s campaign for FDP Chair is being backed by elite insiders looking to fortify their status in an undemocratic process. They literally could care less about the optics of a lack of contrast on economic & environmental issues nor any of the other things that consistently plague Democratic candidates for office.
And a further question must be asked – given whom Fried has aligned herself with in the past, whom she’s kept company with, can she really be trusted to stay loyal to the values-based causes of Democratic activists across Florida?
I continue to learn about fellow Broward County resident Nikki Fried.
For context, I initially wanted her to win the Dem primary last year because of what little I knew about her. That little amount of information led me to believe she was a progressive Democrat.
But reading The Squeeze helped me understand Ms. Fried is a more complicated Democratic pol.
So, I certainly hope she finds a good perch to practice her politics. But leader of the Florida Democratic Party isn’t that perch.
Instead, we need someone to stand for something strong in contrast with the Republicans who have been running our state for a few decades now.
Sorry, Nikki. But it ain’t you, babe. To borrow a phrase from the poet Bob Dylan.