Nikki Fried speaks during 2019 campaign rally – Courtesy: Lynne Sladky/AP
Tuesday afternoon, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) announced her candidacy for the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election, a direct challenge against Republican incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Fried announced via Twitter that “It’s time to break the rigged, corrupt system in Florida with #SomethingNew.”
The Democratic Agriculture Commissioner will battle against former Republican state governor Charlie Christ, who is now a Democratic U.S. Representative in the 2022 primaries.
“Charlie is a likable guy. He’s certainly been a strong advocate for his constituents in DC. I hoped that he would stay in that seat,” said Fried, regarding Christ’s St. Petersburg-area seat. “Charlie is putting his seat, and our Democratic majority in jeopardy, and I do believe that’s a mistake.”
She has served as Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner since 2019, she is the 12th in the state’s history.
As the only statewide elected Democrat, she is hoping to stay true to her roots and continue to point out the current governor’s mistakes by saying, “I’ve been fighting for these issues my entire life. I was doing soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity, and gay pride parades back in high school. I don’t change my positions because of an election. I stay true to who I am.”
Fried, 43, is hoping to become the first Democrat to win the Florida gubernatorial election since Lawton Chiles’ reelection win in 1994.
In a phone interview, Fried pointed out that Gov. DeSantis “Ron DeSantis has fully embraced the right-wing agenda and authoritarian style of governing that doesn’t fit in the state of Florida.”
Currently, Fried sits 4th in the line of succession in Florida’s ranking officers.
The highest-ranking seat in Florida will be up for grabs next year, and the new or reelected governor will be determined on November 8, 2022.
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William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.