Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is continuing to tease a 2022 gubernatorial run, as an expected official announcement is now less than two weeks away.
Fried again declined Wednesday to declare a candidacy many see as inevitable. But during a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches event, she did give credence to the idea that a run is in her future.
Earlier this month, Fried released a hype video previewing a June 1 announcement, where many expect her to officially dive in. On Wednesday, Forum Club President Harvey Oyer III asked Fried whether she’d like to comment on the 2022 rumors while speaking to members.
“You’re going to have to wait for June 1 for that,” Fried answered coyly. “But certainly, as our only statewide elected Democrat, it makes sense for me to be talking about running for Governor.”
Fried has been a sharp critic of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, seemingly signaling a desire to go up against the first-term GOP Governor next year. Though Wednesday’s talk was largely apolitical — focusing on issues like farming, marijuana and food insecurity — Fried did briefly revive some of those critiques.
“Unfortunately, I have seen — up close and personal — heartbreaking stories that I could tell about this current administration not caring about the people, not putting them first,” she said.
Fried wouldn’t have an open path to the Democratic nomination, however. While U.S. Rep. Val Demings is reportedly passing on a run for Governor in order to mount a Senate campaign, former Gov. Charlie Crist is seeking a return to that office as a Democrat. Crist’s campaign is already well underway, and it remains unclear if any other major Democratic players will throw their hat in the ring.
Fried spent the bulk of Wednesday’s talk recapping her work as Agriculture Commissioner, such as pushing to help food insecure Floridians, looking to grow the hemp industry and aiming to modernize the state’s agricultural infrastructure.
“I have a dream to make Florida the Silicon Valley of the east when it comes to agriculture, bringing in new innovation from across the country, from across the world,” Fried said.
It seems all but certain Fried will look to expand those efforts and join the gubernatorial field in June.
“I will continue doing what I believe is right for the state,” Fried added Wednesday. “I’ve done that as Commissioner, and you’ll see on June 1 what the next phase will be.”
May 19, 2021 at 9:34 pm
Really off her rocker. why?
Maybe she’ll tell everyone how she’d have locked Florida. Schools shuttered, jobs & businesses lost. Florida would be a disaster.
Yes. Fried/Rebecca Jones ticket.
DeSantis is an all round A.
May 20, 2021 at 5:56 am
After months of her screeching she is finally facing facts: there is no real interest in her candidacy. No record of achievement, no real vision: “grow the hemp industry”, wha? Hemp, for God’s sake? She is going to have a hard time keeping her present job, let alone earning a promotion.
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