Nikki Fried camp scoffs at Charlie Crist’s negative turn

Fried vs Crist
Fried lobbed criticisms for months, but campaign is now trying to suggest momentum has shifted in the Democratic Primary.

Members of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried’s campaign are criticizing Democratic Primary opponent Charlie Crist for going negative. Fried Campaign Manager Matthew Van Name characterized a tonal shift as a sign “Charlie Crist realized he will likely lose this primary and so he’s gone negative.”

“He’s gone from ‘I don’t respond to her’ — not even mentioning Nikki’s name on May 20th, to using a speech at the LGBTQ+ Caucus yesterday, July 23rd, two months later, to start his negative track,” Van Name wrote.

Gone unmentioned is that Fried has openly criticized Crist’s record for months. But the messaging attempts to suggest that Crist in recent days is reacting to a shifting momentum in the Democratic Primary.

Van Name pointed to Crist’s remarks at the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus this weekend in Fort Lauderdale. Crist attacked Fried for her past support of former Republican state Sen. Manny Diaz, who Gov. Ron DeSantis recently appointed as Education Commissioner.

“He’s the guy now implementing the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Act,” Crist said told the caucus, according to Bay News 9.

The reference is to a controversial new law, officially entitled “Parental Rights in Education,” which limits teacher instruction on the topics of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus held a vote on whether to endorse in the race and Fried came a vote shy of winning. The vote went 25-13 in Fried’s favor, but bylaws require a two-thirds vote to issue an official endorsement.

Van Name’s memo to supporters touts Fried winning 65.8% of the vote in the straw poll, and said that was a “trend happening in every grassroots caucus vote.” Fried notably picked up the endorsement earlier this year from the Democratic Black Caucus at a May event.

Van Name took some umbrage at a statement Crist released asserting that Fried, a South Florida County native, “attempted to pack the room with supporters.”

“Angry Charlie is losing Charlie,” Van Name wrote.

Crist has consistently led in fundraising and independent polls, but Fried earned a lot of good press after a speech at the Leadership Blue gala in Tampa Bay. Fried stepped up attacks on Crist’s own conservative voting history — before being elected as a Democratic Congressman he served one term as a Republican Governor — since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Van Name suggests the change in tone of the race could prove well timed. Fried just made a buy for her first television ads.

“She’s on message and he’s off the rails,” Van Name said. “Let me be very clear, Charlie going negative won’t distract us. It emboldens us. If we communicate at all, we win.”

Crist went on air sooner and he has more money. But Van Name expressd confidence in Fried’s momentum.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Joe Corsin

    July 25, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Vote RED for claiming victory when the wind blows.
    Vote RED for a cultural of greed, incivility, lies, and exploitation.
    Vote RED for far right militias, bioterrorists, and mass shootings.
    Vote RED for government for the rich.
    Vote RED for mass shootings

    • Clarence

      July 29, 2022 at 7:57 am

      Yes thank you for reminding me to vote for DeSantis

      I almost forgot how awesome he is

  • Love My State

    July 25, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Tired of all the back stabbing and looking for someone who cares about Florida. DeSantis is letting Florida go out to the highest bidder. Look at LPGA and Williamson in Volusia County. Throwing up match box apartments while telling long time citizens they can’t use water because of water shortages. If people don’t like it here, then leave. DeSantis is a hypercritic boring on the side of Nazis.

    • Impeach Biden

      July 25, 2022 at 11:29 am

      You two goofballs above would still vote for Andrew Gillum. What a fraud he was. More interested in drugs and boy toys. Than God DeSantis beat him and the State of Florida is in a much better place now.

      • Joe Corsin

        July 25, 2022 at 12:02 pm

        ^ Vote RED for neo nazi psychos like this guy …

        • Impeach Biden

          July 25, 2022 at 12:16 pm

          Vote “Blue” if you like idiots like Corsin. 🤣

          • Joe Corsin

            July 25, 2022 at 12:21 pm

            ^ Says the biggest right wing neanderthal in the history of the internet…just no insight.

      • SeekTheTruthInThisReality

        July 27, 2022 at 4:32 pm

        DeSantis is one of the most talented lying scam artists in the Republican Party. Ivy league Law school to help him hone his craft. He’s a victim, he’s not taking freedomsaway, he’s preserving new ones we didn’t know we needed protected thanks to his culture wars.
           For awhile now He’s been touring the state with Giant Presentation Checks for Infrastructure projects. These projects will do much to improve Florida’s infrastructure that’s earned a unimpressive Grade C. It will create jobs, improve education in rural areas and keep bridges from crumbling like so many already have in Florida. The thing is all the major Republican political figures in Florida voted against it and DeSantis was right there with them spouting the same talking points that could have killed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. So, had it been up to DeSantis none of these novelty Giant Checks and the Projects they represent would be happening and Florida would have lost out on necessary investment that Charlie Christ and the Democrats made possible and Nikki Fried supported.
        The last thing Florida needs is more of the Grifter of Grief who made no effort to accurately track the deadly global pandemic that killed so many floridians. As it looks now there’s evidence DeSantis didn’t want accurate tracking of Covid Numbers, those facts would make him look bad. For a man that cares only about power and his future presidency “Governing” the state of Florida just needs to appear to go well until he moves on. DeSantis has no issues with Nazi’s, with it being easier to get an AR-15 than a Costco Membership, with the obvious Fascist implications his laser focused culture war legislation represents, with being a snowflake that cancels anyone that does or says anything even slightly out of touch with his doctrine and with having State Media because his feewings get hurt when a reporter defines exactly what his vaguely worded freedom stripping legislation could result in.  He can cry smear all he wants but, unlike with his covid policies, facts matter.

  • Impeach Biden

    July 25, 2022 at 11:19 am

    “Blue” controls the WH.
    “Blue” controls the Senate.
    “Blue” controls Congress.

    Ask yourself,

    How’s your investments / retirement since Jan 2021?
    How’s the price of fuel since Jan 2021.
    How’s the price of all consumer goods since Jan 2021?
    How’s crime in your city since Jan 2021?
    Do we have a Southern Border or not?

    If you are happy with what is going on then continue to vote “Blue”. If you have had enough of the gross incompetence of the current administration then vote “Red”.

    • SeekTheTruthInThisReality

      July 27, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      Who destroyed Supply chains with hoax rhetoric about a global pandemic? Then when there was no denying the pandemic who politicized mitigation efforts and did nothing to combat blatant misinformation about vaccines. Who’s old best buddy(Trump is DeSantis’s old best buddy) got oil production cut at home and abroad with threats against allies and the fossil fuel lobby pulling his strings? That set the stage for the gas price hike that followed. Keystone is a BS talking point the United States production is higher than prepandemic levels and has been. Oil executives were recorded saying they wouldn’t increase production because they were making record profits and we’re planning stock buy backs (Trump was the one that cut production making the supply shortage and price increase of oil possible).
      Who made the pandemic result in far more deaths sickness and employees of companies that supply goods have to stay home & quarantine due to complete mismanagement of the pandemic and politicization of mitigation efforts(all credible experts agree). Who is fine with multi-billion dollar corporations price gouging during a global health crisis & blocked Democrats efforts to hold them accountable or to even get answers on companies not meeting the stated supply/production numbers they said were coming? These people your propping up that have overseen and supported and pushed for the worst income inequality ever.
      Rightwing politicians have blocked efforts against and even solidified the use of dark money in their campaigns. They are bought and paid for. They would never let you know who pays for their campaigns (THAT DOESN’T GIVE YOU PAUSE AT ALL). Democrats do it too but nothing like the right wing and it has always been Democrats trying to bring transparency to campaign finance in the modern era.

  • Elliott Offen

    July 25, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    All the malfeasance, obstruction, chaos, and governing for the rich is the Dems fault? Only someone stoned on far right propaganda and piss poor understanding of the last 20 years of our history would believe that…

  • Clarence

    July 29, 2022 at 7:59 am

    It’s awesome living in the Free State of Florida

    I just hope selfishly DeSantis stays as governor, let the rest of the country be screwed up. Just keep Florida awesome and go be POTUS in 2028.

    It’s hilarious seeing all the libs cry too

  • Tim Gardner

    July 29, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Florida is a great place to live, run by 25 years of great Governors. Crist was a crook but the rest were great. Crist stopped the fed-funded work on the Everglades and Rick Scott had a awful time recruiting the Feds to get involved again but its now on track. And now DeSantis is stopping all these crooked programs coming from Biden and his DC Swamp. We are thankful to have a great Governor and hope he wins by 20% in Nov. DeSantis 4 Prez ’28

Comments are closed.


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