FL Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried calls on feds to investigate Trump’s claims of ‘ballot theft’

By: - November 14, 2022 3:38 pm

Ballot drop box in Florida’s state capital. Credit: leonvotes.gov

Following former President Donald Trump alleging that he deployed federal officials to eliminate “ballot theft” in the 2018 election, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Monday called on the U.S Department of Justice to investigate those baseless claims.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried speaks near the Florida Governor’s Mansion on August 9, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Fried, a Democrat who lost her bid as governor in the primary election, said in Monday’s letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that “it is imperative you address these allegations immediately.”

She is pushing for federal officials to take action on Trump’s allegations at a time when the former president is scheduled to make a big announcement Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Many GOP politicos and consultants believe Trump will make official his run for president in 2024 that day.

“There was no widespread election fraud in the 2018 Election in Florida. There was no broad allegation that the election was being stolen from Ron DeSantis in favor of Andrew Gillum. I know because I was on the ballot in 2018,” Fried wrote.

“Although there was a recount for both the race for governor, as well as my own, there was no fraud, and no foul play. To my knowledge, there was no involvement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Office of the United States Attorney.”

In a lengthy post on social media app Truth Social, Trump said last week that he’d helped Gov. Ron DeSantis defeat Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Trump added that “I also fixed his campaign, which had completely fallen apart,” according to Trump’s post.

Trump wrote:

“I was all in for Ron, and he beat Gillum, but after the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win. I stopped his Election from being stolen.”

That said, Fried stated in the letter that “voter fraud and tampering with ballots is a serious charge.” She added: “It is also a serious charge to make these allegations in the name of politics when no such charge occurred. This is why I strongly urge you to address this matter publicly as soon as possible.”

Fried is the outgoing statewide Agriculture Commissioner. She will soon be replaced by Republican Wilton Simpson, who won the state Cabinet race on Nov. 8. He has been the Florida Senate President.

DeSantis, who recently celebrated a landslide victory in the 2022 gubernatorial election, has been considered as a top potential 2024 presidential candidate from the GOP party.

But several media outlets reported that Trump had criticized DeSantis for not showing gratitude for his endorsement for governor in 2018, as previously reported by the Florida Phoenix.

Meanwhile, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections refuted Trump’s claim about any fraud in 2018, according to a report from the Tallahassee Democrat.

“The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office has no documentation of any federal law enforcement presence during the 2018 elections,” said Ivan Castro, spokesman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, as reported by the Democrat.

“Also, to clarify, there is no evidence of corruption during the 2018 election cycle in Broward County.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.