Democrat Nikki Fried teases possible challenge to DeSantis
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday delivered one of the clearest signals yet that she is nearing a challenge to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), posting a video hinting at a June 1 campaign launch.
The video repeatedly highlights her standing as Florida’s lone Democratic statewide elected official, featuring news clips touting her as the “new face” of the state Democratic Party and an “early front-runner” in the race to oust DeSantis, a staunch ally of former President Trump and top target for Democrats next year.
The video then teases “#SomethingNew” coming on June 1, a sign that Fried’s campaign announcement could be just a few weeks away.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) May 12, 2021
Fried has long been seen as a potential challenger to DeSantis, but she has amped up her criticism of the governor in recent months, stoking speculation that a campaign announcement is imminent. Speaking at a press conference last week, Fried declared, “As the only statewide-elected Democrat, it makes absolute sense for me to be running for governor.”
Her entrance into the race would mark the beginning of a long and potentially bruising primary for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Florida. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) jumped into the race last week, becoming the first prominent Democrat to announce his candidacy.
But others are considering challenges to DeSantis, as well, most notably Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who has seen her profile rise over the past year. She was said to be under consideration as President Biden’s running mate last year, though he ultimately chose then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
Demings entered the national spotlight again earlier this year when she was named as one of the House impeachment managers in Trump’s second Senate trial.