We’ve spent a lot of ink on this site in 2021 and 2022 regarding whether Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is someone the Democrats could afford to nominate for Governor. Her track record of unforced errors and gaffes hit a boiling point early in the race and she was roundly rejected by Democratic Primary voters. Never before in the recent history of either party, had a sitting statewide official been so badly beaten in a closed-party primary contest. Yet for some reason, many with heavy voting power in the undemocratic process by which Florida Democrats select their leaders believe she’s the right person for the job. This is inspite of the fact that when she first jumped into the Governor’s race, she couldn’t properly fill out her financial disclosure paperwork, something that could doom a political party if it happened while she was Chair.
But this snafu if just the tip of the iceberg so to speak when dealing with the danger of a Fried-run FDP would represent. Her indiscipline on Twitter and patronizing attitude on several items are dis-qualifiers for the office.
Fried’s extensive ties to GOPers at a time when Florida Democrats are squarely on the back foot politically cannot be tolerated. In 2017, Fried donated heavily to Attorney General Ashley Moody’s 2018 Campaign. Moody is the sort of partisan Attorney General, that serves this state poorly by putting the GOP’s agenda above that of our citizens. Moody’s office and its legal actions have become increasingly political.
And by the way, Fried has close ties to prominent GOPers, including current Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. that is without question troubling for any Democrat concerned about maintaining a values-based approach to politics.
Fried has an impeccable sense of timing in how she draws attention to herself, while trying to appear moderate. Last Spring, as Florida was engulfed in a Special Session where an authoritarian governor taking punitive action against a private corporation (Disney) and was pushing through a Congressional map drawn in his office that eliminated multiple miniroty-access districts, Commissioner Fried was tweeting this:
Whatever your views on COVID-19 and masks, it was downright offensive that a leading Democrat would be apparently celebrating a defeat for public health and the Biden Administration in court (and also effectively siding with DeSantis on this issue).
Then matters got worse the very next day.
Then she doubled down on the mask thing, boasting about her views on COVID-19.
“Get back to normal?” This was at a time when Florida’s Covid cases and deaths were again spiking for what’s it worth and again were right in the middle of a Special Session on other matters.
I’ve written plenty about Fried in the past and felt no need to rehash these thoughts until dangerously, she jumped into the race for FDP Chair last week. These items and tweets put in perspective what we are dealing with. A reckless self-promoter whose lack of discipline could doom the party up and down the ballot if she’s elected chair.
An FDP Chair has to seek consensus, while being a spokesperson for the party, raising money and being a good administrator. Fried at least to this point in her public career seems to lack those qualities. It’s imperative that Florida Democrats reject her.
I’m not a Nikki Fried fan (for that matter, I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat), but you seem to be focusing in on a couple of the few issues where she’s both right (mask mandates and gun rights) and in tune with the majority of Floridians. Such issues would seem to militate for, rather than against, her as a choice for party leadership.
For that matter, while she would likely have lost the race too, she would at least have been a better gubernatorial nominee than exhausted careerist swamp creature Charlie “I’m a Republican, no wait I’m an independent, no wait I’m a Democrat — heck, what do you want me to be to keep collecting a government paycheck?” Crist.
Oh I don’t deny those were popular particularly guns which I think is an issue that has killed the Democrats in this state, but I’m talking about leading the Democratic Party as an opposition party. Pluralism depends on parties, opposing one another in the marketplace of ideas. So is the obligation of Florida Democrats to give us that competition of ideas. In terms of masks, the polling indicated otherwise at the time by the way, and it was also the timing of it because she was going directly against the democratic administration at the federal level.