Nikki Fried sees Florida's race for governor as an entryway to the 2024 presidential primary

But first she must upset former Republican governor Charlie Crist on Tuesday.

Nikki Fried is still an underdog going into Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor in Florida, but if she’s able to shock former two-term governor Charlie Crist, she expects a groundswell of ambitious Democrats coming south to help her knock off Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“I’m looking at the November election as a POTUS primary between Democrats that want to run in 2024 — whether Joe Biden decides to run again or not — and any Republican who wants to run,” she tells me in the second part of our podcast interview.

***WATCH the interview ABOVE***

***WATCH Part I of the Fried interview HERE***


(Crist was offered equal opportunity for an interview, but has not yet obliged.)

Fried, who is Florida’s first female commissioner of agriculture, said the excitement around her upset victory coupled with the national incentive to quash DeSantis would force Democrats to engage in a state some Democrats believe is out of reach.

“Anybody who potentially wants to run for president in 2024, who wants to protect democracy in 2024 … We know that the cavalry is going to come,” Fried says.

Naturally, she said that won’t occur for Crist, who won the governorship as a Republican before becoming an independent to run for U.S. Senate and then a Democrat, unsuccessfully running for governor in 2014.

Still, the Crist name still holds weight in the colossal Sunshine State.

Crist released an internal poll this week showing him up 10 points on Fried …

… after a curious University of North Florida survey made waves showing a Fried lead.

The Crist camp is acknowledging their lead has closed but has also proclaimed that Fried at this late stage has “no path to victory barring a black swan event.”

The smart money remains on Crist, given his high familiarity with voters of all stripes.

The University of North Florida poll is ranked as an A/B pollster by FiveThirtyEight, but they aren’t a particular prolific surveyor.

If they turn out correct, they’ll become the black swan pollster of the August doldrums.

In the general election, UNF has DeSantis tracking 8 points ahead of Crist and 7 points ahead of Fried, cementing the incumbent as a heavy favorite for re-election.

Correction: This article has been amended to note that Crist only served one term as governor.

David Catanese