DeSantis swipes at Fried as Democratic field in 2022 gubernatorial race grows

8 Democrats now vying for party’s nomination in bid to unseat Florida governor

(Left) Gov. Ron DeSantis, (Right) Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday took swipes at the latest Democrat to announce a run for the governor’s office ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial race, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“You know, Nikki Fried has done nothing in office. She does nothing,” DeSantis said shortly after signing the state budget in New Smyrna Beach on Wednesday.

Fried announced her campaign Tuesday, going on the offensive against DeSantis in a video posted to Twitter. In it, she referred to the governor as an “authoritarian dictator” and said it’s “becoming clearer and clearer that Ron DeSantis needs to be a one-term governor.”

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“She (Fried) 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,” said DeSantis, referring to gas pump inspection stickers, which at one point carried an image of Fried shortly after she took office.

Fried, currently the only Democrat in Florida to hold a statewide office, joins a field of eight other Democrats vying for their party’s nomination in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race.

Most of the Democratic hopefuls Fried is facing have little name recognition or are political novices, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who at one point served as the Republican governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011.

“Charlie is a likable guy. He’s certainly been a strong advocate for his constituents in DC. I hoped that he would stay in that seat,” Fried said. “Charlie is putting his seat and our Democratic majority in jeopardy and I do believe that’s a mistake.”

Crist was also quick to snipe at DeSantis when he announced his bid for the governor’s office.

“The deck is stacked against the middle class, aided and abetted by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Republican allies in Tallahassee,” Crist said in May.

DeSantis was more dismissive of Crist’s attacks than he was of Fried’s announcement.

“Look, any time there’s an open office somewhere, you can bet someone like Crist is probably going to be slithering around for it, so that’s fine,” DeSantis said.

Floridians will cast their vote for governor on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.