Nikki Fried officially enters race to lead Florida Democrats
Nikki Fried wants to ensure qualified female candidates are not left behind. Image via AP.

While a late entry, she's still the last Democrat to win a statewide race.

Nikki Fried is announcing she’s running for Florida Democratic Party Chair, reversing a previous decision rejecting a run.

“As we chart a path forward for our Party and our state, a path of unity, a path of engagement, a path of inclusion and most importantly a path to VICTORY, it is important that we do it together,” Fried said in her new announcement. “Therefore, in the spirit of trying ‘something new,’ I am announcing my candidacy for FDP Party Chair.”

The statement uses the same theme as her 2022 run for Governor. Fried lost the Democratic Primary to former Gov. Charlie Crist, who ultimately failed to unseat Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Fried remains the last Democrat in Florida to win statewide office; she was elected Agriculture Commissioner in 2018.

After Democrats in Florida suffered major losses up and down the ballot in 2022, FDP Chair Manny Diaz resigned. While some pushed Fried to pursue the position last November, she said then that she would decline to do so.

“Appreciate the love, but I am NOT running to be Chair of (the Florida Democratic Party),” she said at the time. “A lot of things need to change to restore our winning coalition from 2018 — and I will continue fighting for that — just not by taking over the party.”

A number of candidates have since announced for FDP post, including Annette Taddeo, who for a period ran against Crist and Fried for the nomination for Governor. Now, Fried is changing her tune, laying out an agenda for the job.

“As Chair, I will commit to rebuilding our Party from the ground up,” she said. “Our work will be in lockstep with County Democratic Parties, our Clubs and Caucuses, Democratic elected leaders, community organizations and supporters. As Chair of the Florida Democrats we will rededicate ourselves to voter registration, training and growing our progressive coalitions.

“I am determined to rebuild the trust of national committees and I will dedicate the full weight of the Party to quality candidate recruitment and to reforming our antiquated weighted vote system and bylaws which too often exclude rather than include.”

Fried has heard calls in recent weeks to enter the race.

“My decision is not one made lightly, it comes after months of listening to friends, advisors and Democrats across the state,” she said, before acknowledging her change of heart.

“Florida Democratic Party Chair was not the path I had originally envisioned for myself, but too much is at stake to sit on the sidelines — from women’s rights, economic opportunity and climate change to affordable housing, protecting our Democracy and education. We have to unite our diverse voices and refocus on the issues and grassroots organizing that wins elections. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve Florida and I can’t wait to get started.”

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].


  • It's Complicated

    February 13, 2023 at 9:42 am

    As long as the Democratic Party of Florida aligns with the Far Left, moderate Democrats and rational NPRs will continue to vote Republican. In the ‘lipstick on a pig’ analogy, it is those nonsensical Far Left positions that cannot be redeemed or masked, irrespective of who leads the party. Having said that, I welcome them to continue with this strategy, as it demonstrates the definition of insanity.

    • cassandra

      February 13, 2023 at 11:37 am

      LOL! Nikki Fried is not “Far Left”. And, she lost the Democrats’ *primary*, not the general election. A couple reasons:
      1. She was not Left enough to get “Far left” voters enthusiastic about voting in the *primary*. Perhaps she’s now learned her lesson.
      2. More importantly, many voters from demographics that traditionally vote Democratic, especially under 29s, registered NPA because neither party is addressing their “Leftist” demands. Unfortunately NPAs cannot vote in the Democrats’
      Primary. Conservative and Centrist Democrats chose Crist, but NPAs—including myself—likely would not have.

      • It's Complicated

        February 13, 2023 at 4:25 pm

        Read it again, but slower this time.

        I did not label Fried as Far Left. I do not view her as such. I said the Democratic Party’s problem is that their platform is driven by the Far Left. In that analogy, their platform is “the pig,” and IRRESPECTIVE of who leads their party, it cannot overcome the pig, because reasonable rational people who may be centrist to slightly left of center won’t abide by it.

  • martin

    February 13, 2023 at 9:48 am

    Nikki could not lead herself out of an open door.

  • Mac Wiseman

    February 13, 2023 at 10:06 am

    This is GREAT news for right thinking folks in Florida, the USA, and the whole wide world. Speaking for the all conservatives everywhere:
    Please Please Please elect Nikki to be the leader of The Florida Democratic Party. She has the endorsement of ALL conservatives EVERYWHERE. Do it please do it!!!!!!

  • Richard Bruce

    February 13, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    I’m supporting Ms. Fried appointment. Hope she does as well as she did in her Governor’s run.

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