Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried had a national platform Friday night to discuss Florida and COVID-19.
The 2022 Democratic candidate for Governor took full advantage of Friday’s ruling by the 2nd Judicial Circuit to strike down school mask mandate prohibitions by the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration. Fried said she anticipated other school boards to feel emboldened to pass mask requirements as they saw fit.
“I’m hoping that the rest of the school board members scared of retribution from what DeSantis and our Secretary of Education (Richard Corcoran) was spouting the last couple of weeks will feel empowered to do right again by their kids and their communities,” Fried said on MSNBC’s The Reid Out.
Fried’s presence on national TV came on the same day grim metrics were released showing a record rate of confirmed COVID-19 deaths and cases, with children under 12 the leading demographic of new cases.
“Record numbers of children under 12. That’s the largest group with cases right now, is under 12 years old. And he’s going around and threatening school board members, taking his victory tour and blaming President Biden for this,” Fried said.
“Our teachers are afraid to be in the classroom. Our parents are stuck with this impossible situation of whether or not to put their kids back in school or keep them at home. What do they do for work?”
“This is a crisis,” Fried said, “and I’m heartbroken that our state has to go through this today.”
Nevertheless, Fried kept it pro forma in criticisms of the departing Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, saying he was “MIA for a good part of over a year” and contending “the fact that he’s resigning is not going to change anything, because (Rivkees) has not been here.”
COVID-19 messaging has been on several tracks for Fried. She has stepped up her news conference schedule as a counterweight to DeSantis on coronavirus, and her campaign is attempting to parlay that earned media into campaign lucre.
“Make no mistake — our fight is far from over. DeSantis will appeal this court decision. He’s willing to put our children at risk to score political points. That’s why throughout this crisis, I’ve stepped up to do his job for him,” Fried wrote. “I’m doing everything above and beyond my position as Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services because in times of crisis, you deserve support from your leaders, and you deserve the facts.”
Fried has claimed for some weeks that she has “filled the COVID leadership void” and that she is functionally the Governor.
Earlier this summer, she said DeSantis’ “national platform” was her “greatest weakness” as a candidate. Although her fundraising is way behind DeSantis and Democratic opponent Rep. Charlie Crist, her campaign advisers have gone on record predicting that she will win the primary by more than double digits.
This week, Fried brought aboard a Biden fundraising alum, showing that she is serious about getting her money right. Alicia Pardo, who was the southeast regional finance director for the 2020 Biden presidential run, will be a finance consultant for Fried’s bid.