Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried make final pitches to voters prior to Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election

Nikki Fried
Nikki Fried(DC Bureau)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Orlando, Fla. (Gray DC) - As voters in Florida prepare to head to the polls Tuesday for Election Day, the Democratic race for governor looks like it may come down to the wire.

The latest poll shows a virtual dead heat between Congressman Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

Congressman Crist says his experience and electability make him the Democrat’s best shot to oust Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.). Yet, Fried, currently the state’s only statewide elected Democrat, says it is time for “Something New.”

“We feel our surge. The ‘Nikki Wave’ happening all over the state,” said Fried.

Fried has been in politics the last four years serving as Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner. She says she wants to be the new face of state government because she is not a career politician.

“I’m somebody who’s just shown up everyday and said, ‘How can I help,” Fried said.

Fried says her campaign is simple: lower housing costs, pay state workers $15 an hour, protect a woman’s right to choose, and help small businesses grow all while toning down the rhetoric on culture wars coming from the governor’s office.

“All we have to do is show up and say, ‘Be done with all of that,” said Fried.

Crist has two decades of political experience between state and federal government which he says separates him from Fried.

“I know how to win. I know how to lead. I’m ready to do the job,” said Crist.

Crist is currently serving his third term in Congress and wants to be governor again. He served one term more than 10 years ago but as a Republican. Crist thinks that makes him more electable.

“It’s kind of like Joe Biden against Donald Trump. You know, he could beat the guy. He was good. He was decent. He was experienced, ran against a rookie president,” Crist said.

Crist says he too wants to defend women’s reproductive rights, while making it easier for Floridians to vote and have clean water. He also says the people need a governor with a heart.

“The guy’s literally anti democracy and it’s a shame and it’s crushing our state,” said Crist.

A Crist win would give him a second shot at running the state. A Fried win would get her one step closer to becoming the first woman elected governor.

“We are in a great opportunity to create history on August 23rd,” said Fried.

“If you want to beat Ron DeSantis, vote for Charlie Crist and vote like your life depends on it,” said Crist.

Cadance Daniel and Robert Willis are also running to be the Democratic nominee for governor, but their support has polled in single digits. Meanwhile, all polls show DeSantis beating any Democratic primary winner in November’s general election.

We reached out to the DeSantis campaign for comment on the attacks from Crist and Fried but did not hear back.