Florida state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — who is a Democrat — has filed to run for the state’s governorship, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday ahead of an expected official announcement from Fried later in the day. In a subsequently released campaign announcement video, Fried said that she is “here to break the rigged system in Florida,” describing the current political climate in the state as “corrupt” and “anti-democratic.”
Check out the announcement video from Fried below:
It’s time to break the rigged, corrupt system in Florida with #SomethingNew.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) June 1, 2021
Fried is currently the only Democrat serving in a state-level elected office in Florida, and so far, key policy positions that she has already put forward include support for the legalization of marijuana. Currently, the substance is only legal for medicinal uses in the state of Florida, although it is legal for so-called recreational usage elsewhere in the country. In her campaign announcement video, Fried also promoted an expansion of health coverage in Florida and an increase in wages in the state. Notably, Florida voters already approved a measure to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, but in theory, Republican state officials could try to stand in the way of that.
If Fried wins the Democratic gubernatorial primary race in the state, she will be running next year against current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is a Republican and close ally of former President Donald Trump. Fried has described DeSantis as maintaining “blind allegiance to an insurrectionist” and compared the DeSantis team to an “authoritarian regime.” DeSantis originally won his current position by a very small margin, finishing less than half a percentage point ahead of his Democratic challenger, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. DeSantis has been suggested as a potential Republican presidential primary candidate in 2024.
Currently, there’s already one other Democrat campaigning to take on DeSantis in the governor’s race — Charlie Crist, who is himself a former Florida governor but currently serves as a Democratic Congressman. Crist, who used to be a Republican, changed his party affiliation (first to independent) as his gubernatorial tenure drew to a close. Crist actually won the Democratic nomination for the Florida governorship in 2014, and he subsequently challenged the state’s then-Republican Governor Rick Scott in the general election — but Crist lost by about one percentage point. Scott has since moved on and won election as a U.S. Senator from Florida, and the political landscape has obviously changed in other substantial ways since 2014 as well (i.e., Trump).