Fried trounces Crist, Congressional candidates draw in North Brevard Democrats' straw poll

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Joanne Terry (left) and Danelle Dodge (right) are vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Bill Posey in this year's election.
Joanne Terry (left) and Danelle Dodge (right) are vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Bill Posey in this year's election.

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North Brevard Democrats on Monday heard from the campaigns and candidates who could end up representing them in two key offices — the Governor's office and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In a straw poll held at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, attendees of the North Brevard Democratic Club's straw poll event voiced their preferences in the highly-contested races, both of which have two Democrats vying to take on an established Republican incumbent after the Aug. 23 primary.

Joanne Terry will face off against Danelle Dodge in that primary in hopes of unseating the seven-term Rep. Bill Posey. Both women are first-time politicians who hope their position as outsiders will give them an edge against the long-time lawmaker.

For U.S. Congress, the race came out in a perfect tie with both Dodge and Terry getting exactly 36 votes each, signaling that North Brevard Democrats would be equally happy with either candidate representing them at the U.S. Capitol.

Meanwhile, for governor, former governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will face current Secretary of Agriculture Nikki Fried for the top seat in Florida government.

Fried  easily swept Crist aside with a 48-24 result after Monday's event.

Crist served as governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011 when he was still a member of the Republican Party. He became an independent in 2010 in order to run for U.S. Senate after it became clear he could not overtake Marco Rubio in the primary. A year later, he changed his party affiliation to Democrat.

Fried is currently the only Democrat to hold a statewide office and the only Democrat in the Florida Cabinet under Gov. Ron DeSantis.

More: Two Democrats seeking to oust Bill Posey to face off in upcoming congressional primary

More: Brevard election stage set: stiff competition in D2, D4 and School Board 2022 races

Joanne Terry said she believes she has the ability to appeal to swing voters and even Republicans who have been soured on their party by Donald Trump, the events of Jan. 6, 2021 and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Every day Republicans and NPAs are our neighbors and are also really disgusted by what's going on," Terry said.

Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, spoke to North Brevard Democratic Club as part of a straw club event ahead of the primary elections.
Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, spoke to North Brevard Democratic Club as part of a straw club event ahead of the primary elections.

Terry, who qualified for the election by petition, credited those types of voters for helping make it happen.

Dodge described herself as the "product and proof the very policies that we stand for as Democrats."

"These policies were created to break the cycle of poverty and provide Americans opportunity to raise their stations," Dodge said.

During her allotted time, Dodge described growing up in housing projects being raised by a single mother relying on government assistance, which she said allowed her to grow up and become successful as well as raise children who give back to their community.

The policies Dodge credits for laying the foundation for her well-being are the policies she claimed Republicans like Bill Posey are hoping to undo.

For the governor's race, Fried video called into the meeting to give her 10 minute speech in hopes of swaying local Democrats while Crist had campaign surrogates — Amy Mercado, Orange County Property Appraiser, and her father, Florida Sen. Victor Torres— speak on his behalf.

Fried touted her ability to stand up to DeSantis in cabinet meetings as a reason to back her for the gubernatorial nomination.

"I get in his face and make him talk, not just with hand gestures. I prove every single day that the right side of the issues can win," Fried said.

"In order for us to win, we're not only going to throw punches but we're going to have to land them," Fried added. "I have been our advocate. You have watched the last three-and-a-half years as I have been our standard bearer."

Fried touted her leadership on the environment, energy, daily press conferences on COVID-19 and implementing an amendment restoring felon voting rights as examples of how she would lead as governor.

Amy Mercado, one of Crist's surrogates, said he will fight for the issues that matter to Democrats in Florida whether it be reproductive freedoms, LGBTQ rights, workers issues or housing.

Tyler Vazquez is the North Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Vazquez at 321-917-7491 or tvazquez@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @tyler_vazquez

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Fried beats Crist and Congress candidates draw in Dem. straw poll