Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried runs campaign ad on Aug. 8, 2022. Credit: Screenshot/Nikki Fried campaign
In a new campaign ad, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried walks among rows of mannequins dressed in suits with male-cut styled wigs to represent the past and present Florida governors.
Without saying it outright, the ad highlights a glass ceiling left unbroken in the state — Florida has not yet had a woman governor. If she is successful in the August primary and then the November general election, Fried would be Florida’s first woman governor.
As she walks through the field of mannequins, gubernatorial candidate Fried reflects on the history of Florida governors.
“Florida has had 46 governors. Some good. Some bad,” she said. “And one — depends on which way the wind is blowing.”
This comment is likely in reference to her main opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist. He previously served as a Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner, but is now running as a Democrat.
In addition to her role as Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner, Fried is an attorney and a statewide elected Cabinet member.
“With Roe (v. Wade) gone, our cost of living out of control and no ban on assault weapons, we have to try something new,” Fried says in a voiceover for the ad. ‘Something New’ is her campaign’s slogan.
She ends her ad by saying that she’ll “beat Ron DeSantis,” Florida’s current Republican governor who is seeking reelection in the 2022 gubernatorial race.
Fried is likely to have a tough race.
The latest Florida Influencer Poll, from Florida Politics, shows that “U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will defeat Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic Primary for Governor. It wasn’t close — the former Republican Governor and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee is seen as the likely winner by 94% of Influencers compared to just 6% who believe Fried will have the edge once all votes are counted.”
Crist also has been getting hefty endorsements from editorial boards at Florida’s major newspapers. “The Palm Beach Post and Miami Herald’s endorsements mark the fourth and fifth major Florida newspapers to back Crist as the best Democratic gubernatorial candidate to defeat Ron DeSantis,” the campaign’s news release stated.
That said, Fried has also gotten her own endorsements, for example, from current and past Democratic lawmakers and other local leaders, according to her campaign website.
In the 2018 governor’s race, female candidate Gwen Graham, daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham, didn’t win in the primary. Instead, then-mayor Andrew Gillum, who hoped to become the first Black governor in Florida, took on Ron DeSantis but lost.
In previous tweets and campaign efforts, Fried has emphasized the fact she would be Florida’s first women governor if elected, but she would have to overcome the upcoming primary, on Aug. 23, and the general election on Nov. 8. Mail-in voting has already begun for the primaries.
Florida is not the only state that has not yet had a woman serve as governor, the Phoenix previously reported.
Women have been able to vote since the 1920’s, but only 45 women have served as state governors since then. And that’s only for 31 of the total 50 states, according to Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
As of today, nine women serve as governor in Oregon, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota, Michigan and New York.
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