Nikki Fried believes this should be her year to advance in a one-on-one battle against Republican Ron DeSantis the ambitious governor of Florida.
Democrats need to inspire voters with a fiercely liberal message to legalize marijuana while protecting abortion rights and if the nominee is voted on as the next leader of the nation’s conservative movement. The prospect is up against a potential 2024 presidential contender trying to establish himself as a leader.
But at a campaign event in her hometown last week Fried 44 wandered along an ocean wall in Miami for about 15 minutes waiting for crowds to arrive.
This election is the most important election of our generation, he asked two dozen supporters and family members to help turn the tide of his campaign. Not only the general election but this primary as well.
Less than a week before the August 23 election, Fried finds himself locked in an increasingly bad and often solitary contest with former governor and Representative Charlie Crist.
DeSantis is a race that could offer a window into how Democrats might run against him in 2024. Most political analysts say that Crist has high-profile Democratic politicians with several major unions and that the editorial boards of most of Florida’s biggest newspapers are ready to support him.
His supporters oppose his background as a lifelong liberal Republican and the friendly consensus-driven style would attract voters focused on DeSantis’s often aggressive brand of politics.
The race left the political more broad within the Florida Democratic Party who could take the lead in the general election campaign. While the Fried camp maintains that a candidate with solid liberal credentials is the best way to energize the base.
Crist’s supporters argue that the only way to win against DeSantis is to find someone who will attract voters from the center of the aisle.
If elected Fried would become Florida’s first female governor and the first Democrat to hold office in more than two decades. But in a particularly painful blow to Fried, several influential women’s rights organizations have decided to remain neutral at the primary level.
I’ve known a lot of these people for a while, and I think that’s part of it, Krist said in an interview. There are acquaintances and trusts and relationships that matter in good times and that makes a difference.
But some are concerned that Crist’s shift from Republican to Democrat years earlier made him overly vulnerable to DeSantis’ attacks and that disgruntled Republican voters hoped the Democrats would win and eventually be more attracted to Fried.
Recent surveys have shown that the gap between the crust and the fried is beginning to narrow. Brad Coker director of Florida-based Mason Dixon Polling and Strategy said that to the extent that Republicans even exist they are college-educated women and I think Nikki Fried may have more appeal with them.
There are no white male Republican voters who are going to vote for Christ on DeSantis these voters don’t exist. After serving as the nation’s premier swing state in the late 1990s and early 2000s Florida has underscored the ongoing challenges in winning back the Sunshine State in recent years.
Despite having a good year for Democrats nationally, Florida Democrats have stumbled in recent state and federal elections. Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who was competing to become the state’s first black governor lost nearly half a percentage point to 32,000 votes in 2018 to DeSantis.
Two years later amid declining support for Democrats in Miami’s Cuban American community former Republican President Donald Trump comfortably won Florida, while Joe Biden took on neighboring Georgia.
The Democrats’ crisis here continues to deepen in a state that is crucial in the presidential election. Florida Republicans overtook Democrats last year in registered voters for the first time in history.
The GOP’s gains continue to grow this year as the state now has 200,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. Florida has more than 3.8 million voters who are not affiliated with any party and those voters have historically decided statewide contests.