Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried brings her campaign’s closing argument to Jacksonville Tuesday night, and she won’t be alone.

CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic elected official from South Carolina, will participate in a town hall with Fried, one of two major candidates for the party’s nomination.

The event will be in the Murray Hill neighborhood on Jacksonville’s Westside, an area where the kinds of younger voters Fried will want to engage predominate.

The Walrus restaurant on South Edgewood Avenue will host the event, which runs from 6-7:30 p.m.

Fried was elected to the Agriculture Commissioner position four years ago, emerging from the Democratic Primary to defeat Republican Matt Caldwell in the General Election.

She was the only statewide Democratic winner four years ago, and has messaged on that as both an elected official and a gubernatorial candidate, contrasting her statewide win to the recent lack of success statewide from her principal Primary opponent, Charlie Crist.

Fried advisors paint a narrative of a campaign performing like that of 2018’s Democratic nominee, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Just as Gillum struggled to raise money throughout most of the Primary season, Fried has struggled also. In the week ending July 22, she raised a little more than $50,000 between her campaign account and her political committee, while Crist raised more than $1.18 million altogether.

Polling has generally, but not always, reflected a Crist lead. A June St. Pete Poll showed Crist with a 25 point lead over Fried. A Kaplan Strategies poll favored by the Fried campaign from July shows the race as tied up.

If Fried is to mount an 11th hour rally and defeat Crist despite her lack of fundraising momentum, events like Tuesday’s town hall in Jacksonville will prove pivotal, especially given that Fried has no notable local endorsements from elected Democrats, who gravitated to Crist early or stayed out entirely.


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