Fried pre-spins outcome of Democratic primary debate against Crist

Event was taped for broadcast tonight at 7 p.m. eastern time

By: - July 21, 2022 3:10 pm

The Florida Governor’s Mansion. Credit: The Official Site of the People’s House of Florida; FL Dept. of Management Services

The gubernatorial primary campaign debate between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried hasn’t even been broadcast yet, but the Fried camp is already spinning the outcome.

NBC’s Miami station and Telemundo stations in select Florida cities plan to air the contest beginning at 7 p.m. EDT but taped it in Miami during the afternoon.

Soon following the taping, the Fried campaign issued a press release seeking to raise donations against the event.

“I just got off stage after the one and only debate Charlie Crist agreed to do — and now, we know why,” reads a statement issued over Fried’s signature.

Nikki Fried, official campaign photo.

“The debate won’t air until 7 p.m. tonight on NBC and Telemundo, but I can tell you right now that it will make two things clear: There’s only ONE candidate in this race with a NEW vision for Florida. There’s only ONE candidate in this race who can beat Ron DeSantis,” it continues.

Another release arrived including a written statement attributed to campaign press secretary Caroline Korba.

“Nikki Fried showed she is qualified, proven, and ready to take on Ron DeSantis while Charlie Crist was defensive, condescending, and disconnected,” it reads.

“The people of Florida can watch and decide, but this debate showed why Charlie has backed out of every single debate but this one. His record is too embarrassing to defend. His support is a mile wide and an inch deep and only getting shorter. Meanwhile, a wave of support is building for Nikki Fried. The story out of this debate is this: Charlie Crist can’t handle Nikki Fried. And he certainly can’t handle Ron DeSantis.”

Fried, an attorney, serves as the only Democrat holding statewide elective office. Crist is a former Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner who won election to Congress as a Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

He hasn’t offered any debate spin yet, but said in a tweet, “I’m thrilled to share my plans on how we’re going to build a Florida that works for everyone & win this November.”

‘Dominating’ performance

His campaign did promote an 8 p.m. EDT news conference featuring United Teachers of Dade Karla Hernández-Mats, former state Rep. Sean Shaw, and former Planned Parenthood CEO Barbara Zdravecky discussing “Crist’s dominating debate performance.”

The Republican National Committee chimed in via a press release comparing both Democrats’ records unfavorably to the Republican incumbent, Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“While Fried and Crist argue over who loves Joe Biden more, Floridians already have a real leader in the governor’s mansion,” committee spokeswoman Julia Friedland said in the release.

Check local listings to watch on TV, or turn to the digital platforms for NBC 6 and Telemundo (in Spanish), including, the NBC6 app, and the Telemundo 51 app.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.