Nikki Fried says she’s not dropping out of governor’s race to run for Congress

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Nikki Fried said Monday she’s not dropping out of the race for Florida governor to run for Congress.

Asked in a telephone interview about the chatter among some in Broward political circles, she burst out laughing, and emphatically said it’s not true.

Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, was living in Broward before she ran for state agriculture commissioner, the job she currently holds, in 2018.

The congressional district — mostly in Broward plus part of Palm Beach County — is represented by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch will open up this year because the incumbent announced on Feb. 28 he isn’t running for re-election. On Oct. 1, he becomes CEO of the American Jewish Committee.

Many, many current and former elected officials have considered running for the congressional nomination. Two are running, some are still thinking about it, and most have ruled it out.

Nikki Fried speaks during the annual Democratic Party fundraising dinner on March 12, 2022, at the Signature Grand in Davie. Currently the state agriculture commissioner, she's a candidate for her party's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and said she has no intention of dropping out and running for Congress.

Nikki Fried speaks during the annual Democratic Party fundraising dinner on March 12, 2022, at the Signature Grand in Davie. Currently the state agriculture commissioner, she’s a candidate for her party’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination and said she has no intention of dropping out and running for Congress. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel)

Fried said she’s never considered it, and said supporters of one of the other Democratic gubernatorial candidates are responsible for spreading the notion.

“That is an absolute, made-up rumor by the Charlie Crist campaign because that’s what they were hoping for,” she said.

Some Crist supporters have been open in their desire for Fried to bow out of the primary, but the congressional rumor had circulated recently beyond his camp.

Bernie Parness, leader of the Deerfield Beach Democratic Club, said efforts to get Fried to drop out of the governor’s race are ill timed.

He said he has been hearing more interest in Fried’s candidacy in recent weeks. “More and more people want her to be governor,” he said. “Is interest picking up? Yes, yes it is. People are sitting up and listening.”

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