Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried entered the race for Florida governor, setting up a fight between competing visions for the Democratic Party with former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is also running.
We spoke to Fried, who told us her focus is on November 2022, not the primary election in August.
“Of course, we got a primary to get through, but we have no doubt that we will be successful in the primary,” Fried told WINK News.
Fried is confident she will beat Crist, who also announced his campaign, in the primary.
The former Republican governor wants his old job back but as a Democrat.
“Charlie’s been around for a long time, spent most of his life as a Republican, Republican policies, and you know, quite honestly, the state of Florida wants something different,” Fried said. “And they want somebody who can win.”
Fried’s slogan is “Something New.”
“I’m here to break the rigged system in Florida,” Fried said publicly.
We asked Fried if she thinks Crist is part of what she calls a rigged system and has also said started with him.
“He has been a Republican his whole life,” Fried said. “And yes, he was a Republican attorney general, who enacted some of the toughest crime legislation when he was in … and back as a legislator, and he was a Republican governor … so yes.”
Fried does not seem to be worried about Crist’s lead in an early poll or his head-start in campaign funding.
“The money will be there,” Fried said.
Fried also blamed Crist, in part, for the broken unemployment system that failed people during the pandemic.
“The contract was first signed under Charlie Crist,” Fried said.
We checked on this clam made by Fried and found U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was governor when the state signed its contract with Deloitte to design and develop a new unemployment system. We also received a response from the Crist campaign that said that as well in response to Fried’s claim.