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Nikki Fried vows to hold Gov. Ron DeSantis 'accountable' in new video

Lone Democratic member of Florida Cabinet criticizes Republican governor, says state 'can and will do better'
Gov. Ron DeSantis vs. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
Posted at 2:14 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 14:14:49-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has been openly critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis throughout his administration. Now she's sharing that message in a new video that takes aim at DeSantis for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and allegiance to former President Donald Trump.

"You won't hear this from Gov. DeSantis, but you need to hear it," Fried begins in her ad, which was released Tuesday on social media. "This pandemic has been painful. While he lashes out at everyone else like he's the victim, we all know who the real victims are."

Fried has repeatedly slammed DeSantis for his lack of leadership in the midst of the pandemic and his unwavering loyalty to Trump, which she reiterated in the ad, although she didn't mention Trump by name.

"Every Floridian who's lost a loved one, lost a job, lost a way of life, this has been so much harder than it had to be, and we know why -- blind allegiance to an insurrectionist," Fried says in the video.

The 43-year-old Fort Lauderdale attorney is widely considered to be a leading contender to challenge DeSantis for governor in 2022.

Fried was the only Democrat to win a statewide election in 2018 and is the lone Democratic member of the Florida Cabinet.

Florida Cabinet members Ashley Moody, Ron DeSantis, Jimmy Patronis and Nikk Fried in July 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis, second from left, presides over the Florida Cabinet meeting consisting of Attorney General Ashley Moody, left, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, far right, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla.

"Florida can and will do better," Fried goes on to say in the video, promising to "continue to fight for you and hold the governor accountable."

The video, paid for by Florida Consumers First, plays much like a political advertisement.

"Commissioner Fried wanted Floridians to know they have an elected official who has been listening, that she knows how difficult this pandemic has been and feels their pain," Fried spokesman Max Flugrath said. "She wanted to show them how she will continue to lead -- and it's not by lashing out or making the pandemic about politics."

Nobody from the governor's office replied to an email seeking comment about the video.