Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) slammed Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried at a press conference Wednesday in New Smyrna Beach, after Fried announced that she is running against DeSantis.
“Nikki Fried has done nothing in office. She does nothing,” DeSantis said. “All she does is emote on social media, virtue signal to small dollar donors in California and New York. She put her face, spent millions of dollars to put her face on every gas pump across this state, purely to boost her own image at your expense as a taxpayer.”
DeSantis was taking questions after announcing that he had signed Florida’s 2021-2022 budget bill into law.
He bashed Fried for her stance on COVID-19 lockdowns, which she supported while DeSantis kept the state open.
“She’s a lockdown lobbyist. She would have had our kids locked out of school for the entire year. She would have had this business shuttered for the whole year. They would be out of business if Fried were governor,” he said, looking around at the business owners with whom he stood.
“She’s opposed us at every turn. All the good stuff we’ve been able to do as Governor, she opposed it. I’ve done more, I think, in my first week as Governor than she has in her entire time as Agriculture Commissioner,” DeSantis finished.
He received applause after his final comment.
Fried officially announced her candidacy earlier this week, which was expected.
She said Florida’s system is “rigged” in her campaign announcement video, and also called the state “corrupt” and “anti-democratic.”
“Like many of you, I’ve been underestimated my whole life,” she said in the video. “I was underestimated when I fought corruption as a public defender. I was underestimated when I took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis to keep families in their homes. And I was underestimated in 2018, when I said a Democrat from Miami could be elected Commissioner of Agriculture. But we did it. We cracked the system, and got to work.”
Fried will first have to win a primary battle with former Republican governor turned Democrat congressman Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) before she can take on DeSantis.
A recent poll showed DeSantis beating Crist by 10 points, and Fried by 12.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.
Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.