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Commissioner Nikki Fried vows primary win as Rep. Charlie Crist nabs more endorsements, cash

'When I win this primary -- and come out of this primary -- the momentum will be behind us,' Fried says
Posted at 9:30 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 09:30:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she's confident in a primary win in the race for governor.

This comes as she combats limited time, money and endorsements.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's supporters want Fried to drop out.

Both Fried and Crist filed their qualifying documents this week.

Fried did it in person and said she was determined to oust incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis later this year.

"When I win this primary— and come out of this primary, the momentum will be behind us, and we will be on our way for a November victory," Fried said Tuesday.

But her primary is starting to look one-sided. Crist has chalked up a lot of wins recently.

Crist, a former Republican, is ahead in the polls by double digits.

He is raising more funds, taking in more than $1 million each month for three consecutive months.

Crist also nabbed key endorsements from the Florida Education Association and several well-known Democrats — including former candidate for governor state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who recently dropped out.

Fried's campaign has dismissed much of Crist's recent success and touted her grassroots support.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., second from right, talks with a supporter outside of the United Teachers of Dade offices, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Miami Springs, Fla.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., second from right, talks with a supporter outside of the United Teachers of Dade offices, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Miami Springs, Fla. Crist was endorsed by the Florida Education Association (FEA) and teachers unions from across Florida in his campaign for governor of Florida.

Officials in her orbit also expected a 10- to 15-point polling bump after Taddeo left the race.

A strategist said in a recent memo that among Democrats, Fried is considered more favorable.

"The Democratic Party wants somebody new," Fried said. "They're tired of the recycled politicians. Especially people who haven't delivered for Democrats ever."

Whoever wins in August faces a popular DeSantis in the November election.

He's amassed a huge war chest, raising more than $10 million last month alone.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, asking Nikki Fried to drop out of governor's race
State Rep. Anna Eskamani explains why she believes it is in the Democratic Party's best interest for Commissioner Nikki Fried to drop out of the governor's race.

"DeSantis is well funded," state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said. "Over $100 million, he has raised."

Democrats like Eskamani, who recently backed Crist, think Fried should drop out so the party can unify as soon as possible. Eskamani said consolidation of resources for Crist is vital for a win.

"It's not just because we feel like he's the best person for the job," she said. "But, because we do want to take on DeSantis. It takes resources to take on DeSantis, and spending money in a primary is going to hurt our abilities to take on DeSantis in a general."

A dropout doesn't seem likely, however. Fried has said she's committed to staying in the race.

The candidate is seeking five televised debates before the primary on Aug. 23. Political experts think it could boost Fried's profile. Crist has agreed to one in late July.