Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried messaged Monday about how she has “filled the COVID leadership void” and, in doing so, assigned a precise cash value to that messaging.
“In the 6 days since launching her daily briefings, Fried has seen: Over 335 mentions on television, reaching an audience of 6.8 million, with $966,132 in publicity value,” an email from her campaign states.
During her campaign for Governor, Fried has not been shy about discussing Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ “national platform” on the right; amid a hit-or-miss media strategy since launching her gubernatorial campaign, evidence abounds that virus response may be an issue that catches on nationally.
The strategy has been multifaceted, including regular briefings last week at the Capitol and a roadshow this week where Fried promotes water policy and response to the coronavirus. Even an occasional misstep, such as an errant assertion Monday that the Governor was delaying the release of virus data to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, couldn’t get in the way.
In that spirit, an MSNBC hit Monday evening likely pushed Fried’s earned media value over the million-dollar mark. Fried promoted that from her personal Twitter account, not her official account, seemingly blurring the lines between her official and campaign personae.
Fried, appearing on “The Reid Out,” hit points about the Governor’s virus response that may seem familiar to Floridians’ ears but might have more novelty to a national audience.
She made her case again for an emergency order from DeSantis to “pull down additional funds from the federal government” and bring in federal resources in testing and vaccinations.
“The problem is our Governor has put his head in the sand. He has left the state of Florida and abandoned us,” Fried lamented.
The critiques stayed personal.
“Unfortunately, this Governor is more preoccupied with running for President in 2024 and not taking this seriously.”
Fried dodged a mask mandate question for public schools and localities, saying it “shouldn’t be about mandating masks or not mandating masks. Last year we didn’t have the tool in the shed of vaccinations. We have it now.”
She then returned to dissing the Governor, saying DeSantis “flirts with anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers,” before going on to add that he “flips out during crises” and has “handcuffed” localities and subsidiary governments from “being able to protect their own communities.”
As DeSantis’ followers know, the Governor’s strength isn’t in the novelty of phrase, but platforms to repeat his message and occasionally workshop talking points. Fried has not been afforded that luxury in the same way — yet.
Will coronavirus response turn the tide? The metrics are favorable thus far.