Florida Democrats tap Nikki Fried as party chair after disastrous midterms showing

FILE – Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried pauses after conceding the race to Rep. Charlie Crist, Aug. 23, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Florida Democrats selected former state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried as their new party chair on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File) Marta Lavandier/AP

Florida Democrats tap Nikki Fried as party chair after disastrous midterms showing

Asher Notheis

February 25, 06:04 PM February 25, 06:05 PM

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Florida Democrats have elected former gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried as their new leader as the state party tries to regain its footing.

Fried taking the position of the state party’s leader marks the end of a four-way contest between her, former state Sen. Annette Taddeo, Broward Democratic Party Chairman Rick Hoye and Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida Legislative Committee Chairwoman Carolina Ampudia. In the lead up to Saturday, however, the race for state Democratic Party chair was largely seen as a two-woman race between Fried and Taddeo.


“We look forward to working together to elect Democrats up and down the ballot to deliver for Floridians,” Florida Democrats said in its announcement.

Prior to Saturday, Fried had served as the state’s agriculture commissioner and ran in the Democratic primary for the Florida gubernatorial candidacy. In August 2022, she lost the primary election to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist went on to lose that race to current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) by an impressive 19 point margin.

Fried’s Saturday victory comes after the state Democratic party has suffered heavy losses in recent elections. Beyond the governor’s race, Florida Republicans took the supermajority in the state legislature, and there is now not a single Democrat in statewide elected office.

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz resigned as party chairman last month in response to the recent losses. Alex Berrios, who was also running to fill Diaz’s spot but dropped out, had endorsed Fried after leaving the race.

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“She’s not just a good person, she’s a good candidate,” Berrios said. “She’s young, she’s strong, she’s not just going to bend to pressure. This is somebody that has more spine than most people in politics.”

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