Premature? Democratic leaders congratulate Nikki Fried for victory
Nicole "Nikki" Fried is dropping hints as to her political future.

Nicole Nikki Fried

Florida Democratic leaders rejoiced as Democrat Nikki Fried seized the lead in the state Agriculture Commissioner race over Republican Matt Caldwell.

Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo released a statement congratulating Fried on her “win.”

“As the important work of counting every last legal vote continues, it has become clear that the electoral process has worked and Nikki Fried will serve as Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services,” Rizzo said.

“Today’s victory, while belated, is a victory for all of Florida as Nikki will be a strong advocate for everyone and will fight to protect our environment, our health care, and consumer rights.”

Of course, Caldwell claimed victory on Tuesday night when the vote still favored him by thousands, as reported then.

As of Thursday afternoon, Fried seized the lead—by 2,841 votes.

That margin stands at less than a hundredth of a percent of the more than 8 million votes cast.

Florida law requires a machine recount of votes if the margin of victory falls under 0.5 percent.

If the recount produces a margin with 0.25 percent or less that will trigger a manual recount. The Fried-Caldwell race is well within that margin.

Through Wednesday and Thursday, the gap between Republican and Democratic statewide candidates closed steadily, thanks largely to late reported vote-by-mail and early votes in deep blue Broward and Palm Beach counties.

At the same time that the Agriculture Commissioner race turned on its head, the gap in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and apparent winner Rick Scott tightened to manual recount range as well.

And today, the gap in the Governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum shrunk to machine recount range.

Notably, the final margin between George W. Bush and Al Gore in the infamous 2000 recount was 537 votes.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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