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Nikki Fried Mocked by Left and Right After Winning Democratic Chair

Fried called Governor DeSantis a “zealot fascist dictator,” but promised to unite the party. Meanwhile, many Republicans celebrated Fried’s victory as a win for the GOP.

MAITLAND, FLORIDA — Democrats in Florida picked former state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to resurrect the struggling party, which is still reeling from a November nightmare. Fried beat former State Sen. Annette Taddeo in a special election among party members on Saturday.

Fried promised to fight Republicans and called DeSantis a “zealot fascist dictator.” It will be an uphill battle for Fried, who got walloped in the August primary by Charlie Crist – who DeSantis defeated in historic fashion three months later.


Fried picks up the baton from former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who resigned after a disastrous performance by Democrats in November. In announcing his decision to step down last month, Diaz bemoaned a lack of commitment to campaign fundamentals like volunteer recruitment and training.

“We have plenty of social media activists, not roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers. We communicate virtually, not personally,” Diaz wrote in his resignation letter. “There was no energy or sense of community or urgency. Recruiting, training and building volunteers seemed to be an afterthought. Large events and recruitment efforts, traditional tools for capturing volunteers, did not exist.”

Fried has fueled opposition within her own party, highlighted by a public spat with radical State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) last July and a Big Sugar controversy weeks later.


Fresh off his own election victory, new Florida GOP Chair Christian Zeigler mocked Fried’s win as “the FloridaDems’ continued efforts to ensure Republican victory in Florida!”

Meanwhile, the governor’s former press secretary Christina Pushaw offered snarky congratulations by tweeting a photo of the state with all 67 counties colored red.


In a thinly veiled shot at Fried, Rep. Eskamani congratulated Taddeo for “running” for chair.

A lower profile Democrat on Twitter said he’s washing his hands with the party, writing: “NOBODY should donate or spend any time with that organization! Give the money to your local candidates! DON'T GIVE MONEY TO THE DECs that voted for @NikkiFried”

However, some prominent Democrats celebrated Fried’s victory, including U.S. congressmen Jared Moskowitz and Maxwell Frost.

Pam Keith, CEO of Center for Employment Justice, congratulated Fried in a tweet, adding that the party “needs to go into a completely different direction, and moving to Orlando is a good start.”

Strategist Victor Shi tweeted: “If there’s one person who can take on Ron DeSantis and call him out for his dangerous policies, it’s Nikki Fried. Great news for Florida. […] I can’t wait to see Nikki go head-to-head with Ron.”