Nikki Fried campaign manager to depart after just six months due to planned “restructuring”
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 9/1/2021-Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried during a moment of silence to honor COVID-19 victims, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The change comes after a series of humdrum fundraising months.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s campaign to take the Governor’s Mansion is headed for some big changes, beginning with the departure of her campaign manager.

Farah Melendez is leaving her post ahead of a planned “restructuring” next week, Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reported Friday. There’s no word yet on where Melendez will go.

Before joining Fried’s campaign in September, Melendez had been managing Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s re-election campaign and jointly serving as the national political director for the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

“We are 100% supportive of Farah pursuing other opportunities because our campaign is in a better place because of her work,” campaign adviser Kevin Cate told POLITICO.

The change comes after a series of humdrum fundraising months in which Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, appears to be slipping in a Democratic Primary contest featuring U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and state Sen. Annette Taddeo.

Fried’s gubernatorial campaign hit an all-time fundraising low in November, when she collected just over $216,000 between her campaign and political committee, Florida Consumers First. Her subsequent monthly gains have hovered around $320,000.

While Taddeo’s numbers have remained much lower than Fried’s, Crist has been stacking cash. Fried raised about $856,000 between November and January. Crist — a former Republican Governor — has amassed about $2 million between his campaign and political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist.

Fried still has about $3.5 million on hand. Crist has roughly $4.2 million.

Taddeo, who announced her campaign for Governor Oct. 18, trails with $760,000 between her campaign and political committee, Fight Back Florida.

Cate told POLITICO he considered the race between Crist and Fried “basically tied.” He cited a poll released this week by Democratic consultant and Fried supporter Evan Ross showing Crist leading Fried 36%-34%, well within the margin of error.

Other surveys tell varying stories. A recent poll by GBAO Strategies found 54% of voters favored Crist, compared to 28% for Fried and 7% for Taddeo, with 11% of respondents undecided. The poll showed Crist leading in virtually every subset, including among White, Black and Hispanic voters, in all regions of the state.

Another survey by St. Pete Polls in May reached similar conclusions, with Crist leading Fried 55% to 22%.

In August, a Public Policy Polling Survey had Fried holding a slight lead, 33% to 31%, over Crist.

DeSantis, whose popularity among Republicans has him positioned as a frequently discussed foil to former President Donald Trump in a theoretical 2024 race for the White House, has been nothing short of a fundraising juggernaut, hoarding more than $80 million for his re-election bid.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Impeach Biden

    February 11, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    The collapse of the Nikki Fried Gubernatorial campaign begins. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Good riddance to the wicked witch of Agriculture.

  • Impeach Biden

    February 11, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    “Turn out the lights, the party is over”. Bye bye Nikki Fried. Take the fake scientist, Rebekah Jones, with you.

  • Rob

    February 12, 2022 at 12:15 am

    This post sums up the state-wide Democratic Party problem of the last 20 years. An impossible-to-elect entity, Fried, is propped by some self-interested, self-employed consultant, Cate, spewing fantasty (“better place,” basically tied”), dividing the party, and the cash. Win- Republicans. Lose- the people of the state, and beyond. Cate- I know just one thing about you, but this: you are despicable.

    • Progressive Campaigns are All About $Cate$

      February 14, 2022 at 10:16 pm

      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 09/02/2021 15,000.00 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING & P MON
      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 11/11/2021 5,100.00 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING MON
      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 12/07/2021 5,869.46 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING MON
      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 12/22/2021 2,000.00 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING MON
      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 12/22/2021 311.63 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING MON
      Florida Consumers First (PAC) 01/12/2022 27,500.00 CATECOMM 4640 GROVE PARK DR TALLAHASSEE, FL 32311 MEDIA CONSULTING MON

  • F. Williams

    February 12, 2022 at 10:45 am

    Commissioner Fried unlawfully maintains a Florida concealed carry license despite being a publicly admitted user of medical marijuana. The law (FSS790.06(10)(a) and 790.06(2)( n )) stipulates that her license should be suspended or revoked due to her Ineligibility to purchase a firearm. Pursuant to federal law (18 USC 922 (g)(3)), Commissioner Fried is a “prohibited person” and may not lawfully obtain or possess firearms or ammunition.
    Commission Fried’s inaction concerning her own license is a deliberate failure to faithfully execute her office. One which she derives direct personal and political benefit from.

Comments are closed.


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