Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to schedule Florida’s next Cabinet meeting on the day of the Primary Election is part of an “authoritarian power struggle” with the Democratic Cabinet member.
Fried is one of two candidates vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to challenge DeSantis. But with the next Cabinet meeting now scheduled for Aug. 23, the day of the Primary, Fried will be obligated to be in Tallahassee that morning while U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is free to campaign across the state.
Fried is currently trailing Crist in the latest Democratic Primary polls. As such, a morning of commitments in Tallahassee denies her the opportunity to campaign and try to close the significant gap with Crist.
“His scheduling of it during the Primaries shows his vindictiveness and his authoritarian power struggle with me, and that’s unfortunate that he is playing politics with the business of our state,” Fried told reporters Monday.
A poll released Monday of likely Florida Democratic voters shows Crist maintaining a strong lead over Fried in the Democratic gubernatorial Primary. St. Pete Polls’ latest survey, conducted for Florida Politics, shows greater than 49% favor Crist, a Democratic St. Petersburg Congressman and former GOP Governor. About 24% prefer Fried.
DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis comprise the Cabinet and are all up for re-election statewide in November. Unlike Fried, none have Primary competition. Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, is the frontrunner to replace Fried as Agriculture Commissioner.
The next Cabinet meeting had been slated for June 28, but DeSantis canceled the meeting earlier this month. Cabinet meetings are followed by a Clemency Board meeting the following day, which DeSantis also delayed this month. The August meetings are only the second pair of meetings this year.
Fried said she spoke last week with a woman who was supposed to be on the agenda for the June 29 Clemency Board meeting. Because she didn’t appear before the board this month, a land swap deal the woman was a part of fell through, Fried continued.
“This is, again, a dereliction of his responsibilities, both as a member of the Cabinet but also for all those people who have been waiting years upon years for the Clemency Board,” Fried said.
Last updated on June 20, 2022