Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried took a break from her daily diatribe against Governor Ron DeSantis, turning her attention to her Democratic primary opponent in the lead-up to election season.
Sounding off on Twitter late Thursday night, Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, took several shots at former Florida Republican governor turned Democratic U.S. Representative Charlie Crist. In the late-night thread, the lone statewide Democrat didn’t pull any punches addressing her 222,000 followers, first noting her consistency on pro-choice issues before taking the first shot at Crist.
“I’m the only candidate running for governor in Florida that’s been pro-choice my whole life and never sacrificed women’s health for political gain. Think about that and tell me again who Florida Democrats are going to nominate to take on and beat Governor Ron DeSantis,” Fried said, promising ‘something new’ if elected.
Fried then quickly transitioned into attack mode, throwing the first jab at Crist by taking aim at his mixed record on abortion.
“We can’t afford to dance around this primary any more. There’s just too much at stake. We need to be working on the general now,” Fried continued, attaching a video of Crist touting his conservative principles.
In the video from Feb. 2010, then-Gov Crist — who served a single term in the governor’s mansion as a Republican in 2006 before not seeking reelection to chase a U.S. Senate seat which he lost to Senator Marco Rubio— highlights his ‘conservative’ stance on life, firearms, and taxes.
“I am pro-life, I’m pro-gun, I’m pro-family and I’m anti-tax. And I always have been,” Crist said at a Christian Family Coalition breakfast while running for U.S. Senate under the GOP banner in 2010.
Fried would go on to finish her 1-2 combo shortly after, throwing a haymaker by labeling Crist as the “nice guy” who will finish last.
“Charlie is a nice guy… but he’s not going to win this primary. So let’s start the general now,” Fried promised, again dropping a robocall from Crist promoting his conservative views during his time as governor.
Charlie is a nice guy… but he’s not going to win this primary. So let’s start the general now.https://t.co/AlTlW5zGXV
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) September 3, 2021
The dustup quickly sent shockwaves across Florida’s political bow, with many catching a glimpse of what could be a nasty primary between the two high-profile Democrats. Prior to last night’s showdown, Fried and Crist had formed somewhat of a silent partnership in the early months of their campaigns in an effort to discredit DeSantis and his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite a concerted effort by Democrats to unseat DeSantis in 2022, many flocked to Fried’s defense, citing her rising star status and unwavering stance on women’s health. Republicans also chimed in, seeing the squabble as a sign of the campaign cannibalism to come.
Crist also issued a swift rebuke, rejecting the infighting and calling on Fried to place the spotlight back on their common political foe.
Commissioner, it’s unfortunate you are attacking fellow Democrats now. Let’s all agree — I certainly do — that the real opponent is @GovRonDeSantis and his extremist, anti-choice agenda. We need to keep the focus there. That’s why I’m running for Governor. pic.twitter.com/6XvbyPuGoE
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 3, 2021
The Twitter spat came on heels of a 5-4 decision Wednesday night by the Supreme Court which refused to block a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.