Nikki Fried won’t back down — and she’s got the rights to the classic song boosting her

Nikki Fried
She's using it with permission, unlike Donald Trump.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried might be down in the polls and fundraising to become Florida’s next Governor, but she is not backing down.

And now she has the rights to use the late Tom Petty’s 33-year-old song to back her up.

The iconic Floridian’s song, “I won’t back down” — an ear worm still getting radio play — was used at Donald Trump rallies to the consternation of Petty’s family, who sent him a cease-and-desist order about it.

But now it’s playing against a montage of key moments in feminist history in a new Fried ad. There are marching suffragists, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi being handed the gavel and Sally Ride becoming the first American woman blasted into space.

But can it rocket Fried into history as Florida’s first female Governor?

“This is the most important message we’ve ever released,” Fried said. “I am standing on the shoulders of all these trailblazing women — and so is every other woman and ally fighting for women’s rights. We won’t back down. We won’t back down. We won’t back down.”

She won’t face copyright infringement issues, according to a statement her campaign provided. She is using the song with the family’s approval, the release says.

Petty’s ex-wife, Jane Benyo Petty, has endorsed Fried for Governor, the release says. The spot will be used on social media and TV ad buys to be announced later, her campaign said.

She is facing an uphill battle against Charlie Crist in the Primary competition for the Democratic nomination for Governor. St. Pete Polls last week showed little room for Fried to catch up. Fried’s fundraising last month paled in comparison to Crist’s and her would-be competition in the General, Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Fried’s new advertisement hits heavily on the idea that it’s time for something new, however, as in Florida’s first woman Governor.

After reels of suffragist marchers, tennis great Billie Jean King slamming into history, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor breaking that glass ceiling and Hillary Clinton, Petty’s one-of-a-kind notes fade into Fried’s call to history through a megaphone.

“To every little girl in Florida, and across the country, we are doing this for you,” Fried says.

The advertisement wraps with a purple screen written with white type: “Make History on August 23.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • tom palmer

    June 30, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    She will not win the primary. Move on.

  • Impeach Biden

    June 30, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Fried has used her job as Ag Commissioner from day one as a stepping stone to Governor. From her high school or college picture on every gas pump in the state of Florida, to her daily attacks on one of the finest Governor’s right now in the United States it has failed. She’s mean spirited and quite frankly never ever stood a chance against DeSantis. She can’t even beat “switch hitter” Crist as the nominee. Soon she will be gone and many of us look forward to that day.

    • tjb

      July 3, 2022 at 1:59 pm

      Finest governor (DeSantis)? Freedom only if you agree with me DeSantis?


    July 1, 2022 at 3:58 am

    She will lever win the primary move

  • David In Shoreline

    July 1, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    It would be great if girls and young women in Florida had a female politician role model. Luckily they do – AG Ashley Moody.

    As for Fried, get out the butter cuz she’s toast.

  • Just a comment

    July 1, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Nothing more then a money trap fla it is like monopoly everywhere you land you pay with a card go to jail

Comments are closed.


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