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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried launches run for governor

Broward County Democrat is party’s only statewide officeholder

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

FloridaTALLAHASSEE (CFP) — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has launched a run for the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, calling on her fellow Floridians to help her “break the system” and end what she calls two decades of Republican corruption of state government.

“I’m here to break the rigged system in Florida. It’s corrupt. It’s anti-democratic, and it’s time for something new,” Fried said in a campaign launch video posted on Twitter. “I’m unafraid. I’m tested. I’m ready.”


Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried

Fried, 43, is the only Democrat holding statewide office in the Sunshine State. A former public defender and lobbyist for the marijuana industry, she won a narrow, surprise victory for agriculture commissioner in 2018 as a urban Democrat, a position usually associated with rural and farming interests.

Since taking office, she had become a fierce critic of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, most recently for his support for a law that imposes new restrictions on voting and a measure that bars transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

But before she can get to DeSantis, Fried will have to win a competitive Democratic primary that includes U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist from St. Petersburg, who served as governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, and possibly State Senator Annette Taddeo, a Hispanic lawmaker from Miami-Dade who will compete with Fried in vote-rich South Florida.

Democrats haven’t won Florida’s governorship since 1994.

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