Just 6 months after her hire as Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried’s campaign manager, Farah Melendez is departing the election team following a lackluster series of fundraising months.
Prior to serving as Fried’s campaign manager, Melendez worked as a Delegate Director for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign, as well as Political Director for the Democratic Attorneys General Association in Washington D.C., according to her LinkedIn profile.
“She’s a powerful, tested, & dynamic woman — a daughter of immigrants. And she’s got the energy we need to beat Gov. Ron DeSantis!!!” Fried said upon the hire of Melendez.
Fried’s campaign has suffered several setbacks in recent months, including lower-than-expected fundraising totals, raising less than $1 million between November and the end of January, placing her squarely behind election opponent Charlie Crist in amassed finances.
Fried’s campaign reached a fundraising low in November, bringing in less than $220,000 when earnings from her campaign and political action committee are combined.
“We are 100% supportive of Farah pursuing other opportunities because our campaign is in a better place because of her work, with about $3.5 million on hand just raising more than $300,000 in January, with 3,452 individual donors to the campaign, almost 80% of which came from Florida,” said political advisor Kevin Cates told The Capitolist. “Nikki Fried is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination against Charlie Crist. We know this race is basically tied right now and Nikki is far and away leading in the race for real and social media excitement.”
Though Cates states that the Democratic primary is “basically tied,” recent polls tell another story.
A poll published by GBAO Strategies at the beginning of Feb. give Crist a hearty lead over Fried, where a sample pool of 800 likely voters favored the former Governor 54 percent, compared to just 28 percent for Fried. Sen. Annette Taddeo rounded out the poll with 7 percent of the polling vote.
The poll found Crist leading among all impactful demographics, leading over Fried and Taddeo in each region of Florida and winning pluralities in both men and women. Crist also led among White, Black, and Hispanic voters, and among Democrats who describe themselves as liberal or progressive, moderate, or conservative.
“Our campaign’s vision of a Florida for all Floridians is continuing to resonate with Floridians across our state and from all walks of life,” Crist said in a campaign press release. “I could not be more humbled or thankful for the support I’ve received from the Panhandle to the Keys. Together, I know we will change the tide and deliver the leadership our state deserves. Our campaign is gaining momentum every day, and we’re ready to fight for all Floridians.”
In a Suffolk University poll measuring the state of the gubernatorial race, Fried trails the incumbent DeSantis 51 percent to 40 percent. Crist fares slightly better, though is still projected to be defeated by a margin of 49 percent to 43 percent.