May 18, 2022 by David Silverberg
Alfie Oakes, the prominent and outspoken farmer and grocer based in Naples, Fla., known for his extremely conservative political views, will announce in one week whether he is running for state Agriculture Commissioner, he told The Paradise Progressive in an exclusive telephone interview today.
After announcing on April 28 that he was considering a run, Alfie (Francis Alfred Oakes III) told The Paradise Progressive he remains undecided about a bid.
“I likely won’t know for a week,” he said as he weighs his options. “It will be an uphill battle for sure.” In an interview the day before, he acknowledge that “it’s getting really late” to jump in the race.
Oakes is owner of the Seed to Table market and is president of the Citizens Awake Now Political Action Committee, which is backing conservative candidates in Southwest Florida. He is also a Collier County State Republican Committeeman for District 4.
If he ran, Oakes would be up against Wilton Simpson, president of the Florida state Senate, who has been endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former President Donald Trump and is currently considered the leading contender for the position—but Oakes said he’s a weak candidate.
“He’s a pay-to-play guy,” he said.
In the telephone interview, yesterday, May 17, Oakes acknowledged that “it’s getting really late” to jump into the race. “I don’t know now if I’ll run or sit out this cycle. I haven’t made that determination.”
Oakes met with one of the current candidates for commissioner yesterday but said he had not decided whether to endorse.
Oakes revealed that he was thinking of running for Agriculture Commissioner in an April 28 interview with Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. Oakes was interviewed on the online Tucker Carlson Today show, which streamed on the alternative video platform, BitChute.
At the very end of the hour-long interview—minute 57:40—which chiefly covered Oakes’ commercial history and issues facing the farming business, Carlson asked Oakes about his political plans.
“Alfie Oakes, when you run for office and I hope you will, call and we’ll announce on our show,” said Carlson.
“Well, if I do, I will be blessed to come up here and I am thinking about it. I really thought about making a run for Commissioner or Agriculture for the state of Florida,” he said, adding, “I’ve given it a lot of thought.”
The position of Commissioner of Agriculture is an elected Cabinet position with a four-year term. The commissioner is fourth in line of succession to the governor after the lieutenant governor, attorney general, and chief financial officer.
The Commissioner is charged with supporting and regulating Florida’s agriculture industry, conserving soil and water resources, managing state forests, protecting consumers from unfair trade practices, and ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of food in the marketplace, according to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.
The current officeholder is Nicole “Nikki” Fried, who was elected in 2018 and is the only Democrat to hold statewide office. She is currently running for governor.
To date three candidates are seeking the office, according to the state Division of Elections. Ryan Morales, a businessman based in Clermont, is the only Democrat. In addition to Simpson, the other Republican candidates are Richard Earl Olle and James Shaw, a farmer. Another declared candidate, Chuck Napp, dropped out of the race when Simpson entered it.
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© 2022 by David Silverberg