Democrat Nikki Fried announces modest first-month fundraising in 2022 run for governor

Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried speaks during a Barack Obama drive-in rally in support of Joe Biden near Florida International University in Miami, Florida, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.

With a strategy of leaning on small-dollar donors, Democratic candidate for Florida governor Nikki Fried announced her first month’s fundraising numbers Tuesday, a modest haul coming in at just under $813,000.

About 92% of contributions to the agriculture commissioner fell below $100.

Just over half the funds were raised through Fried’s political committee, Florida Consumers First, and the rest came from her campaign account for a total of $812,544.18.

Between her campaign account and political committee — formed in May 2019 — she has $2.18 million in cash on hand.

“June’s strong fundraising numbers indicate that Floridians appreciate her willingness to speak out and stand up for what’s right,” Fried spokesman Max Flugrath wrote in a statement.

Fried’s haul trails that of her primary opponent, Congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who raised $1.5 million in his first month.

Both candidates have a long way to go to compete with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been aggressively fundraising both in Florida and across the country. He raised $7.5 million into his political committee in May, bringing the total cash on hand to $39 million.

Fundraisers hosted for her campaign were smaller in scale, hosted by local supporters like Pompano Beach developer Justen Shiff and his wife, Melissa, a delegate for President Joe Biden, and former Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan. Fried’s campaign has also employed some creative tactics to attract small donors, like randomly selecting donors to have personal phone calls with Fried or private Zoom calls with media adviser Kevin Cate.

Some larger progressive donors that work to elect women, like Ruth’s List and Emily’s List, are holding back on endorsements until the field is clearer. Miami-Dade state Sen. Annette Taddeo, for example, has teased a gubernatorial run of her own.