Democrat Nikki Fried pulls slightly ahead of Republican Matt Caldwell in Agriculture Commissioner race

Recount logoOnce trailing her opponent in the Agriculture Commissioner race, Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried has pulled slightly ahead of Republican Matt Caldwell, according to unofficial results from the Florida Division of Elections.

Still, the vote count is razor thin — with Fried at 50.02 percent of the vote and Caldwell at 49.98 — and that means a recount is expected.

Fried, an attorney, former public defender and outspoken medical marijuana advocate, has been vying to become the first elected female Agriculture Commissioner in Florida.

Caldwell, a Republican state lawmaker and seventh-generation Floridian, has been helped by hefty campaign contributions — more than his opponent has collected — and an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.

Some media outlets wrote that Caldwell was the winner on election night on Tuesday. But as more votes trickled in, Fried closed the gap and is now ahead slightly.

As of this evening, the Florida Division of Election shows Fried with 4,024,076 votes compared to Caldwell’s 4,021,235 votes. That’s a difference of 2,841 votes.



Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.


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