While in Jacksonville Thursday for a campaign event, gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried expressed confidence Democrats would pick her as the nominee despite being outperformed in terms of endorsements and fundraising by Charlie Crist.
Fried, currently the Agriculture Commissioner, has focused most of her messaging on incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis. Yet current Congressman and former Gov. Crist may be the bigger impediment given the Primary in August. He has raised more money than Fried for six straight months and has collected the lion’s share of the endorsements.
“First of all, fundraising metrics aren’t the metrics that I believe a campaign is geared on. But we certainly are meeting all of our goals every single month,” Fried said, after a month in which she raised a little more than $325,000 between her campaign account and her political committee, Florida Consumers First.
That number was less than half of what Crist raised in December. Crist also had a cash-on-hand advantage as 2021 ended, with his $3.8 million giving him a roughly half-million-dollar advantage over Fried.
“You see the type of grassroots support that we’re getting all over our state. We’re getting our message out there. And certainly, we are hitting it where we need to, especially every single day the people of our state are suffering,” Fried said. “And they’re seeing a Governor utilizing platforms to divide our state and to create political rhetoric and political theater in order to get his base and run for President.”
Fried added “there would be no doubt at the end that this is the right campaign, the right candidate to take him on in November.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that Democrats across the entire state want a fighter, want a winner,” Fried continued. “They want somebody who has an accomplishment not just in the last three years of being a Commissioner, but a life of accomplishments.”
“Our Democrats want somebody who is a fighter, somebody who can get in the arena with DeSantis, and who has a lifetime of accomplishments fighting for the people of our state,” Fried added.
Crist and Fried are the two leading fundraisers, but one other serious candidate is also in the mix.
Sen. Annette Taddeo closed 2021 with more than $600,000 on hand between her campaign account and her political committee, Fight Back Florida.
Once a Democrat emerges to get in the arena with DeSantis, that challenger will face a serious cash disadvantage. The Governor closed 2021 with more than $72 million on hand between his political committee and his campaign account.