Democrat Gubernatorial Hopeful Nikki Fried Attacks DeSantis over Plane Purchases She Once Supported

Gubernatorial candidate and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, teamed up with Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson to promote questionable claims related to Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s purchase of airplanes for executive travel.

On March 12, Wilson noted in a tweet that he had called out DeSantis for adding private jets to the state budget.

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Florida Cabinet Members Travel to Panhandle to Visit Wildfire Sites

As wildfires rage across Florida’s Panhandle, three of Florida’s four cabinet members traveled to the region to assess the damage and offer state support. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis (R), and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried all traveled to the Panama City region to assess the three wildfires in the Bay County area.

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Republicans Dominate Potential Democratic Opponents in 2022 Elections, New Florida Poll Finds

According to a new poll, Republicans running for Governor and U.S. Senate in Florida are dramatically leading their potential Democratic opponents in the upcoming midterm elections.

Specifically, Governor Ron DeSantis leads both notable Democrats that are running to challenge him for his position.

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Florida Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Fried Has Another Low Fundraising Month

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), running for Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination, raised a combined total of $313,000 in January. Fried’s campaign raised a total of $171,502 and her political action committee, Florida Consumers First, raised $141,854.

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State of Emergency Issued for Central, South Florida Counties

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency executive order for almost all of Central and South Florida after the extreme cold weather threatened Florida’s farmers and growers.

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Casey DeSantis Responds to Nikki Fried’s ‘Hitler’ Comments

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis sent an email blast out to campaign followers blasting Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s (D) recent comments comparing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to infamous National Socialist dictator Adolf Hitler.

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Nikki Fried Compares DeSantis to Adolf Hitler

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) compared Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to Adolf Hitler, the infamous Chancellor of National Socialist controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Fried claims that she has studied Hitler and how he came to power.

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Florida Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Fried’s Distracted Pot Mogul Fiancé, Jake Bergmann, Totals Car, Mailbox; No Charges Filed

The fiancé of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – Jake Bergmann – was distracted when on September 15, 2021 he drove his 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn across the center-line of a two-lane road in northeast Tallahassee, destroying a neighbor’s $1,500 brick mailbox, according to a traffic crash report obtained by The Florida Capital Star.

The report indicated that debris from the crash was scattered west to east approximately 30 yards and the Ram truck was inoperable and towed from the scene. The photo of the vehicle after the incident shows massive damage to the front of the truck and, consistent with the police report, indicates that the air bags in the front seat were deployed.

The Florida Capital Star obtained documents related to the disposition of the truck which indicate that the vehicle was valued at $56,753 with a repair cost of $44,392.

The law enforcement official at the scene did not issue a ticket, charge or sanction Bergmann, the former CEO of Surterra Wellness.

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Nikki Fried’s Campaign to Accept Crypto, Money Laundering Questions Raised

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) announced on Twitter that her political committee for governor is now accepting cryptocurrency as a contribution to the campaign. Fried made the announcement by video posted to social media.

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Nikki Fried Embraces LGBTQ Issues, Equality Florida Responds with ‘Highest Honor’

Since taking office as Commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture, Nikki Fried (D) has made numerous moves backing LGBT advocacy issues. One LGBT advocacy group, Equality Florida, has been a large player in Florida’s progressive politics and receiving an official endorsement can lead to major financial contributions.

Equality Florida previously endorsed then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) against Ron DeSantis (R) in 2018. As election day drew nearer, the Human Rights Campaign, another pro-LGBT group, bought more than half a million dollar ad buys encouraging voters to support Florida’s Democrats, including Gillum.

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Nikki Fried Includes Left-Wing LGBT Resources on Florida Agriculture Website

After the Florida Capital Star broke the story regarding the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) removal of LGBT bullying resources from left-wing groups, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) repurposed resources and posted them to the Florida Department of Agriculture (FDACS) site.

Many of the resources consist of anti-bullying resources, though not all are expressly described as “LGBT” anti-bullying resources. However, the main heading of the site designates the links as being categorized as “LGBTQ+” as well as providing a brief timeline of Fried’s efforts to advocate for the LGBT community as agriculture commissioner.

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Nikki Fried Accuses DeSantis of Pay-to-Play with University Appointments

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of requiring prospective university board of trustee members to donate $100,000 to his campaign. In turn, he would grant appointments to university boards.

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Florida Commission on Ethics Finds Probable Cause Related to Nikki Fried Complaint

The Florida Commission on Ethics announced yesterday it found probable cause that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) violated state law when she failed to disclose more than $350,000 in lobbying income when she ran for her current post.

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Gov. DeSantis Defends Parental Rights, Criticizes Political Advocacy in Florida Classrooms

After the Florida Capital Star uncovered the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) removed links and resources to LGBT advocacy groups, notable Florida progressives chimed in to criticize the FDOE and the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration.

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University of Florida Backtracks, Permits Professors to Testify

The University of Florida has completely backtracked on its policy to prevent three professors from testifying in a state legal challenge. The university originally said the professors’ testimony would be a conflict of interest given the university is funded by state dollars.

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University of Florida Professors Fighting School’s Testifying Pro Bono Order

Three University of Florida professors are going to be fighting their employer’s order over testifying in a State of Florida election integrity law challenge. UF previously banned them altogether from testifying but backtracked their position and said they would permit the professors to testify if they remained unpaid.

“Prohibiting professors from giving standard expert testimony, and instead only allowing pro bono testimony, undermines their credibility as expert witnesses and chills their speech,” said the attorneys representing the professors.

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Charlie Crist Will Legalize Recreational Marijuana If Elected

Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) said earlier this week that if he is elected governor, he vowed to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge criminals with marijuana convictions.

The announcement came as part of the unveiling of Crist’s “Justice for All” criminal justice reform plan, which also included some gun control policies. Crist said the plan is for the communities who have felt left behind by the government.

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DeSantis Administration Pushes Back Against Fried’s Faulty COVID Data

Members within Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration have pushed back against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s incomplete COVID data regarding Florida’s school districts. In the effort, Fried made the claim Florida’s schools that have mask mandates have fared better than schools without mask mandates. The DeSantis administration called the data “misinformation.”  

The data Fried used stemmed from a sharable, view-only OneDrive Excel document containing week-by-week COVID data for each county’s school district. However, over half of Florida’s school districts were not included in the document.

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Nikki Fried Defends Mask Mandates for Schools, Says DeSantis Is ‘Lying’

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “lying” about mask mandates in Florida’s schools and claims masks have been effective in stopping the spread of COVID.

“Ron DeSantis is lying to you about masks in schools … In every single case, kids were better off in school districts that required masks than school districts that did not,” Fried said.

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Florida-Based Trulieve Becomes Largest Medical Cannabis Company in the Country

Florida-based medical marijuana company Trulieve has completed the acquisition of Harvest Health & Recreation, becoming the largest medical cannabis provider in the country. Trulieve announced the beginning stages of the acquisition in May.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said the acquisition will provide a solid foundation for her company to grow.

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Nikki Fried Considering Legal Action over Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Department of Environmental Protection Selection

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is weighing legal action against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his appointment of Shawn Hamilton to the position of secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

DeSantis and Fried have gone back and forth for weeks over an interpretation of the Florida Constitution related to the appointment power of the Florida Cabinet in comparison to the governor’s complete discretion of hiring and firing of secretaries.

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Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried Opposed to Biden Administration’s Monoclonal Reduction

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has indicated her opposition to President Joe Biden administration’s decision to limit the amount of monoclonal treatment therapies being sent to Florida.

The Biden Administration, lead by the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), announced last week they will be taking over the distribution of the treatments and rationing the amount of treatments states like Florida can receive. The treatment will be allotted on an “equitable distribution” basis.

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Florida Cabinet Considering Land Deals

The Florida Cabinet, comprised of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, are considering selling a tract of land in Miami-Dade County while buying and preserving land in Northeast Florida.

The South Florida land considering being sold is 82 acres located north of Hialeah to a private developer. The land is listed for over $12 million and the stipulations for the transaction would be the requirement of the land to provide at least 5,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

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Fried Criticizes DeSantis over Not Seeking Low-Income Program

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, among other Florida Democrats, criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the DeSantis administration opting to decline application into the federally run Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.

The program was developed by the President Donald J. Trump administration to provide states with grocery benefits for low-income children during the COVID pandemic. President Joe Biden’s administration continued the program. So far, Florida is the only state to decline the extension.

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Florida’s Farmers Lost $4B to Mexico’s ‘Crop Dumping’

Florida’s farmers are still struggling even after the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which received bipartisan support in Congress. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is also calling on Floridians to buy Florida-grown products after Mexico’s “unfair trade practices.”

A new report from the Florida Department of Agriculture shows Florida is losing its market share for seasonal produce while Mexico’s share has continued to increase. The tactic is being referred to as “crop dumping,” which is when Mexican producers intentionally flood the American market with lower priced blueberries, strawberries, and other seasonal crops.

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Florida Supreme Court to Hear Contentious Gun-Rights Case

Guy shooting hand gun at gun range

The Florida Supreme Court is taking up a gun-rights case related to a 2011 state law which implements penalties on local governments if they pass stricter gun-control laws.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and a group of municipal governments brought the case to Florida’s high court. Before Fried was elected in November 2018, a coalition of local officials filed suit against the law after the February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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Nikki Fried Jabs at Charlie Crist over Past Policies

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) took jabs at Congressman Charlie Crist (D-13) over his previous political affiliations and supporting pro-life policies when he was a Republican. Fried and Crist are both running to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

On Twitter, Fried posted a YouTube clip with the added caption that she is the only candidate who has been “pro-choice” her entire life, referencing an old clip where Crist said “I am pro-life, I am pro-gun, and I am pro-family, and I am anti-tax and I always have been.”

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Attracting Big Name Donors, More 2024 Rumors Swirl

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been attracting national attention for his handling of the COVID pandemic and after taking different campaign trips across the country he has attracted some of the GOP’s biggest donors.

According to Friends of Ron DeSantis’ campaign documents, Kenneth Griffin, founder of Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, as donated $5 million. David MacNeil, founder of WeatherTech, donated $500,000 in May, and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus gave $250,000.

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Florida Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Fried Files Financial Disclosure Form

Florida Agriculture Commissioner and 2022 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Nikki Fried, has filed her financial disclosure forms, showing updates to her 2019 financial forms and new changes.

Fried was hours away from racking up fines for potentially not filing by the September 1 deadline, which was the end of the extended grace period. Form 6, which Fried completed, was originally due on July 1.

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DeSantis Taps Shawn Hamilton to Lead Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Fried Challenging the Hire

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has selected the next secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). DeSantis picked Shawn Hamilton who oversaw the state park system as deputy secretary. Hamilton was previously a superintendent in the Alabama Air National Guard and also served in the Iraq War who has also worked in environmental conservation.

Hamilton would be the first black man to lead the FDEP and DeSantis said he we would bring “a strong, proven record of environmental stewardship and management of award-winning state parks and conservation lands.”

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Debate Continues Over Need for COVID State of Emergency Order in Florida

With the increase in cases and hospitalizations, many are calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to re-enact Florida’s COVID state of emergency.
DeSantis initially issued the state of emergency declaration on March 9, 2020 and extended it for over one year. DeSantis opted to not renew it in June, making June 26, 2021, the end of the declaration. The 476-day state of emergency was the longest in Florida’s history.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Pulled in $4 Million in July, Opponents Far Behind

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has pulled in over $4 million during July, expanding on his already large war chest.

The July financial report shows over 18,000 contributions during July, which is over 63 percent of total contributions Friends of Ron DeSantis has collected since January 2018.

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State Says Fried’s Claims About Florida’s COVID Data Are Baseless

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has claimed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Department of Health (FDOH) is not reporting Florida’s COVID data to the CDC in a timely fashion.
Fried has since begun doing her own daily COVID briefings after DeSantis moved them to weekly occurrences.

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Governor DeSantis Trails Florida Cabinet Members in Net Worth

Recently filed financial disclosure forms filed by state-wide elected leaders show that the net worth of Florida Governor Ron Desantis is significantly less than Florida’s three cabinet members.

The financial disclosure forms, known as Form 6, are required to be filed annually by state elected officials and some state employees. The forms were due to the Florida Commission on Ethics by July 1, 2021.

Desantis reported a 2020 net worth of $348,832 on his Form 6 filed on June 20, 2021. This is up 16.5% from the $291,449 reported for 2019.

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Governor DeSantis Suggest Appointing DEP Secretary Without Florida Cabinet Approval

Florida State Capitol

During a Florida Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis insinuated the possibility of appointing a new secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) without the Cabinet’s approval.

Controversy regarding the appointment comes after Former DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, who had held the position for four years and was approved by the Cabinet in 2017 and 2019, officially resigned on June 4th.

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DeSantis, Fried Spar over Defunding Police Issue

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried had a war of words related to governance issues related to the defunding police issue.

Fried, who is running as a Democratic candidate to unseat DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election, said DeSantis was bullying local municipalities under the rule of Republican control in Tallahassee.

“Now, the so-called party of small government is yet again telling government closest to the people what they can and cannot do with their money,” she said. “So, as you vote today, ask yourself, who is really the big government bureaucrat in the faraway Capitol?”

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Discrepancy Found Between Nikki Fried’s English and Spanish Websites

A discrepancy between Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s English and Spanish websites has been recently criticized as a deliberate attempt to withhold progressive ideas from Hispanic and Latino voters.

Newsweek noticed the discrepancy and quickly questioned Fried’s campaign team who, without responding, changed the Spanish website to match the English website.

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DeSantis Reports $7.5 Million in May Contributions, Continues to Significantly Outpace Rivals

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried raised only approximately $215,000 in May, according to newly filed campaign finance reports. Fried’s political action committee, Florida Consumers First, saw exactly $214,832 come in from primarily small-donor contributions. However, the May numbers do not reflect the campaign fundraising effort after she formally announced her candidacy on June 1.

Fried’s foremost competitors, Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), raised $1.2 million and $7.5 million, respectively. DeSantis has been on a fundraising crusade in recent months, raking in nearly $14 million back in April and capitalizing on his administration’s move to ban Critical Race Theory, banning transgender females from competing in female sports, and to push back against “cultural Marxism” in May.

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GOP Official Files Ethics Complaint Against Nikki Fried

Nikki Fried of Florida

Chairman of the Leon County GOP, Evan Power, filed an ethics complaint at the end of last week against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. He claimed the violation stems from her failing to disclose more than $400,000 in income on official financial disclosure forms, which she quickly amended after her official gubernatorial campaign launch on June 1.

One of the sources of her income increase is from Ignite Florida, a consulting firm where she is sole proprietor and lobbies the marijuana industry. Specifically, she amended a 2018 financial statement on May 28 indicating she received $351,480 from the firm. Previously, she had to amend the same 2018 statements on January 30, 2020 saying she received $72,000 in 2018 income.

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Nikki Fried Amends Financial Disclosure Ahead of Campaign Announcement

For the second time in less than two years Nikki Fried – the current Florida Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate – has amended her 2018 financial disclosure form filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The latest amendment, filed on May 28, 2021, comes just days before she officially announced she would be running for governor.

The amendment relates to her gross income in part D of the form. Fried changed the amount of income she received from Igniting Florida to $351,480.

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Nikki Fried Backs Critical Race Theory in Florida Classrooms

Days before her likely official gubernatorial launch, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced her support for teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Florida’s schools and classrooms.

Fried is making a major announcement on June 1, which most are speculating is a governor’s race campaign launch, and in preparation for statewide attention, attended a local community meeting on Tuesday night where she criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for saying CRT is “divisive” and should not be taught in public schools.

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Florida Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana Industry Challenge

Florida Supreme Court Building

Earlier this week the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a challenge from the medical marijuana industry, backing the state’s strict regulation of the industry’s business model standardized by the Florida legislature.

The challenge was filed by a marijuana company, Florigrown, where they contested the legislation put in place which limits the amount of medical marijuana licenses issued in Florida and requires dispensaries to grow and process their product. Florigrown was denied a license to become a medical marijuana treatment center in 2017.

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Florida Democrats Prepping for 2022 Challenges

Stephanie Murphy, Nikki Fried and Val Demings

Republicans have dominated Florida Democrats for nearly 30 years, where currently only one statewide elected post is occupied by a Democrat: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. With Fried all but officially running against Governor Ron DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL-10) challenging Sen. Marco Rubio for his Senate seat in 2022, Florida Democrats are having to rearrange who is going to be running for open positions and the potential political losses those candidates could face.

If Fried continues on her current trajectory for a likely gubernatorial bid, Democrats might lose the only statewide post they have. Fried won in 2018, weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated the agriculture-rich areas of the Florida Panhandle, which saw diminished Republican Panhandle voter turnout compared to the rest of the state. Fried won the race narrowly by approximately 6,000 votes.

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Nikki Fried Has Financial Interest in Company Acquired by Trulieve

Commissioner Nikki Fried

Financial disclosure forms indicate that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has a financial in Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., a company acquired by Trulieve Cannabis Corp. for $2.1 billion last week. Trulieve is one of the most notable cannabis companies in the United States and is the largest licensed cannabis company in Florida.

According to 2019 documents, Fried’s assets in Harvest Health totaled over $190,000, and her personal overall net worth increased by 416% during the time frame of June 2018 to June 2019. During that period, she was also gifted a $700,000 home with her fiancé Jake Bergmann, who has financial stake in another marijuana company, Surterra Wellness.

Fried has repeatedly promoted the cannabis industry as the Agriculture Commissioner while she and her family maintained financial interests in cannabis companies.

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Questions About Nikki Fried Begin to Surface

Nikki Fried

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has long been rumored to be challenging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2022 gubernatorial race but has yet to make a campaign launch official.

However, last week, on Twitter, she made an announcement indicating “something new” is coming on June 1 through a video.
Since she posted the video, news and political commentary about Fried and her personal relationships, business interests, potential ethical questions, and how they all fit together have entered the conversation in light of an impending campaign launch.

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DeSantis Leads Fundraising Effort by Wide Margin

Ron DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis’ political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, in 2021, has raised over $23 million, and nearly $14 million of the total was raised during April alone. During April, the campaign received primarily two large sums of money, one was for over $5 million from Chicago-based hedge funder Kenneth Griffin, and the other was a $2.8 million donation from the Republican Governors’ Association. Griffin was one of DeSantis’ primary contributors to his 2018 gubernatorial run.

DeSantis has not formally filed the paperwork to run for reelection in 2022, but the account is ramping up donations, indicating a DeSantis campaign is likely imminent.

Over 30 contributions came in totaling over $50,000, 139 contributions over $25,000, and 86 contributions of $100 to $500.

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Nikki Fried Announces ‘Something New’ for June 1

Earlier this week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a video where she is planning on making a major announcement, and “something new” is coming on June 1.
In the video, clips of Fried tout her resume as the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida as well as rumors of her being an early frontrunner to challenge Governor Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race in 2022.

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Poll: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Leads Competitors by 10 Points

On Wednesday, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll showing Governor Ron DeSantis leads each of his potential Democratic competitors by at least double-digit points in the 2022 gubernatorial race.

In a hypothetical head-to-head general election, DeSantis leads Rep. Charlie Crist 51-41. Against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the same scenario, DeSantis leads 51-39, and against Rep. Val Demings, DeSantis leads 53-38.

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Nikki Fried Demands Answers About Piney Point, Environmental ‘Ticking Time Bombs’

The State of Florida is set to put $115 million into the clean-up of the Piney Point phosphate plant in Manatee County after a reservoir leak led to sulfate emissions, evacuations over a potential reservoir wall collapse, and a potential flood leading to contaminated water in Manatee County. Now, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is asking Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein what his agency knows about other potential environmental disasters.

Due to a leak in early April, 200 million gallons of wastewater were dumped into Tampa Bay, and its impact is still unknown. Discharges from Piney Point stopped on April 9, and DEP teams have been monitoring the discharge site to see if it resumes. So far, no more discharges have taken place.

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