With a rousing, orchestral score and a pledge to “break the rigged system in Florida,” Nikki Fried’s video debut as a candidate for Governor splashed down on social media June 1.
One week into her official kickoff, the current Agricultural Commissioner’s campaign video has several times the number of Facebook and Twitter views, likes and retweets of her opponent’s month-old video campaign kickoff. Tuesday’s tally of Twitter comments stood at 2,201, in stark contrast to the 219 comments posted to the May 4 campaign debut from Fried’s Democratic Primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
“It would be great to have a Governor who respects the will of the voters!!!! Time for change! #nikkifried,” wrote one Longwood woman on Facebook.
Fried undoubtedly faces an uphill battle. Crist already had the job. And, if Fried wins the Primary, she’ll face a tough battle against Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has become a national political figure many regard as nearly impossible to beat in 2022.
And there are plenty of haters on Fried’s thread, too.
“Hi Nikki, you won’t beat … the best governor in America. Have fun though,” Lavern Spicer, a Republican congressional candidate in South Florida, tweeted at Fried’s video.
Further, Fried’s video debut spun heads among insiders when she announced herself as “a Democrat from Miami.”
“The ‘Democrat from Miami’ part was new to me, who always thought she was from Broward,” Gray Rohrer, state government reporter for the Orlando Sentinel tweeted.
The confusion can be forgiven. She practiced law in Broward County. Her now-closed, pro-marijuana lobbying shop “Igniting Florida” was in Broward, according to its registration with the secretary of state’s division of incorporation. She also declared herself an elector of Broward County when she ran to become the state’s Agriculture Commissioner. And when the Broward County Supervisor of Elections came under fire from her 2018 opponent, she hotly declared, “I’m from Broward County” in a 2018 newscast.
Her spokesperson Max Fulgrath, said her video speaks to her origins, more than her adult career.
“(Fried) was born and raised in Miami, went to high school in Miami, so she’s from Miami,” Fulgrath said.
It’s a part of her overall theme, apparently. Fried, the only Democrat to win statewide political office since 2012 — as well as the first Jewish woman to do it — has always been underestimated, she says in the video. And Miami is part of that.
“I was underestimated in 2018 when I said a Democrat from Miami could be elected Commissioner of Agriculture,” she said.
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Steve Glassman said it was always his impression that Fried was from his city. But he understands.
“Maybe the best thing would have been to say, ‘I’m a Democrat from South Florida,’” he joked. “Up in Tallahassee, they can’t stand us whether we’re from Broward County or Miami-Dade, so what’s the difference?”