The Phoenix Flyer

Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried says Charlie Crist ‘is refusing to debate’ in primary

By: - May 12, 2022 3:56 pm

Nikki Fried, official campaign photo.

With less than four months away from the 2022 gubernatorial primary, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is pushing for a televised debate among Democratic candidates, claiming U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist “is refusing to debate” her and she has accepted several invitations from broadcast media outlets across Florida.

Fried on Thursday called out Crist on Twitter for allegedly rejecting to debate and said she’d “just accepted a debate invitation from Telemundo, which is the 5th televised debate I’ve accepted.”

She is a 2022 gubernatorial candidate hoping to become the Democratic nominee in August to face off against Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

“Charlie Crist has never debated a woman on TV and is refusing to debate me, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida — it’s disrespectful, cowardly, and embarrassing,” Fried tweeted.

In a Twitter poll posted by Fried, nearly 84 percent of respondents say they would want to see a Fried and Crist TV debate. And only about 16 percent say they would not want to see a debate.

Crist’s press secretary has yet to respond to a request for comment from the Florida Phoenix regarding the issue of debate invitations.

A former Republican governor, Crist has been racking up endorsements over the last few weeks from members of the Florida Senate. He even received support from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take on DeSantis as the Republican governor seeks reelection in November.

Fried appears to have fewer endorsements by elected officials compared to Crist, who has been endorsed by state Sens. Shevrin Jones, Lori Berman, Bobby Powell and Tina Polsky.

State Sen. Annette Taddeo, of Miami-Dade, also is a candidate in the gubernatorial primary. It’s unclear if she is willing to participate in any debates for the primary race.

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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.