TAMPA (WFLA) – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried was in the Tampa Bay area on Thursday for a pair of events.
Fried teased a major announcement on June 1. The race for governor opened up this week when several outlets reported Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) will challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) for his seat in 2022.
8 On Your Side asked if Fried was waiting for Demings to decide whether to run for governor before deciding to run herself.
“No, we have always been: what is best for the state of Florida?” Fried replied. “And I’ve been very consistent on that.”
“I do not believe that Governor DeSantis is what’s best for our state,” Fried added. “He has really taken us into a direction that the people of our state don’t want. The policies they pushed and supported during this past legislative session are against the interests of the people of our state.”
Fried came in a dead heat in a hypothetical matchup with Gov. Ron DeSantis in a poll conducted by St. Pete Polls in late March.
If she enters, she’ll be the second prominent candidate for the Democratic nomination. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) announced his run two weeks ago.
Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee will have a tough battle to defeat the incumbent governor. DeSantis has garnered a legion of conservative fans in Florida and around the nation and is building an impressive war chest.
In April, the Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee raised nearly $14 million, according to the Florida Department of State.
That same month, a political committee with ties to Nikki Fried raised about $360,000.