Nikki Fried defends campaigning with GOP’s Manny Díaz as way to ‘get things accomplished’
Nikki Fried.

'If anything, this shows my leadership.'

Old stories about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried campaigning with the man who could be Ron DeSantis’ new Secretary of Education are resurfacing.

In 2016, Fried made calls for and campaigned with Manny Díaz Jr. as Díaz, a Republican, ran for re-election to the House. The issue has been revived in anonymous text messages this month as a blast against Fried’s authenticity.

Díaz, now a Senator, sponsored legislation in 2022 to ban “critical race theory” concepts from classrooms, despite not mentioning the theory by name. Yet despite Díaz’s prominent role backing a major culture war issue supported by DeSantis, Fried defended such cross-party affiliations when asked Tuesday.

“You know what? I have been and I continue to stand behind my record as a Democrat, my entire life since I was 17 years old,” Fried said. “I continue to show the Democratic Party and the people of our state that issues that are at the forefront of all of their minds are the issues that I continue to fight for.”

“And you know what? Here in the state of Florida and across the country, we should be looking for more bipartisan support on issues. That’s what’s wrong with politics today,” Fried added.

Fried cited hemp legislation as an example of bipartisan legislation she was able to help get passed. “If anything, this shows my leadership. I’m able to talk to both sides of the aisle, to get things accomplished.”

Fried’s association with Díaz is part of a trend of associations with Republicans. She donated to Jeb Bush, Ashley Moody and Adam Putnam before running for office as a Democrat in 2018.

“Look, each one of these is isolated situations,” Fried said, noting that she lobbied for the Broward County School Board.

“It was my job to become acquainted with and develop relationships with people who are involved in the education policies of our state. And so I was doing that on behalf of a client,” Fried said.

She added that working with both parties was an “advantage” when working on issue, as Republicans have controlled the Legislature for years.

Fried’s bipartisan cooperation extends beyond those involved in education policy in the state, however. She has been a rare Democratic voice of support for Rep. Matt Gaetz despite his recent travails.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Holly Bullard

    March 23, 2022 at 10:36 am

    So, where are these texts from? There’s no caption to those pictures. The phone numbers are still listed. Seems a bit amateur-gossip-rag-gy to me. Probably best to delete those or explain why they’re journalistically relevant and their providence.

  • Clearly said

    March 27, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    They are “journalistically relevant” because FLAPOL wants Fried to lose

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn