Shadow Race 2024: Newsom vs. DeSantis

The fight highlights how two young governors captured the attention of their respective parties: On one side is Newsom, a progressive and telegenic leader who survived a recall attempt. On the other, DeSantis, often presented as a more disciplined Donald Trump, but who also has a penchant for populism and a refusal to back down from a fight.

« Most politicians work best when they have someone or something to contrast, and there’s no greater contrast with Gavin Newsom and California right now than Florida and Ron DeSantis, » said Jim Ross, a Democratic consultant who ran the first campaign for the Newsom Town Hall.

The Republican response to Newsom is simple: go for it. They say they would like the opportunity to highlight California’s homelessness crisis, declining population and other factors that make it a regular GOP punching bag.

“The selfish Gavin Newsom is in desperate need of relevance and attention,” said Christian Ziegler, Vice Chairman of the Florida Republican Party and Sarasota County Commissioner. « This ad will have no impact on anything that happens in Florida – both politically and politically. And the only one losing sleep over this ad will not be Ron DeSantis, but instead , Joe Biden will lose the midday nap because of this, as it makes it clear that Newsom is positioning himself to take on the Democratic president.

Anthony Pedicini, a Florida GOP campaign consultant, joked that “you don’t see a lot of people from Florida moving to California. Newsom should focus on fixing California and leave Florida to the guy who got it right – Ron DeSantis.

For Newsom, the recent feud merged an old approach with a new urgency. He always liked to castigate governors of red states to create contrast with California’s progressive agenda. Florida has been a favorite target. Newsom has regularly derided the state’s lax approach to the coronavirus as he touted California’s tougher strategy. The emergence of DeSantis as a national figure and presidential candidate has further fueled this antagonism.

Newsom stepped up his attacks on Republican lawmakers and the U.S. Supreme Court after the High Court issued landmark opinions on guns, abortion and the environment that were anathema to California Democrats. Newsom announced he was signing gun restrictions last week with a Twitter video aimed directly at his opponents. « To the members of the Supreme Court of the United States, to the right-wing Republicans across the country: have you no common decency? » He asked.

It also allowed Newsom to continue to seek to shape the tactics of the National Democratic Party. The governor has previously publicly attacked the Democrats’ approach to abortion rights as too timorous, asking « where the hell is my party? » »

“Governor Newsom thinks now is not the time for the Democrats to turn around and accept defeat. Now is the time for the Democrats to fight back,” campaign spokesman Nathan Click said in an emailed statement.

DeSantis, who confidently advanced through his 2022 re-election campaign and is seen as a likely contender in 2024, has focused more of his energy lately on Biden, bashing him on everything from immigration to food prices. essence, while also opening up battles over education and gender identity. But California — and by extension Newsom — has also been a favorite source of criticism. Over the past month, DeSantis has regularly cited the San Francisco prosecutor’s recall to underscore what he calls a growing backlash against liberal policies. He also kicked off a high-profile feud with California-based Walt Disney Co. over the entertainment giant’s opposition to a Florida law banning classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity for children. children from kindergarten to third grade.

DeSantis campaign spokesman Dave Abrams in a statement derided the California governor’s announcement, saying, “Gavin Newsom might as well light a bunch of cash on fire. Pass the popcorn for his desperate attempt to win back Californian refugees who fled the hell he created in his state to come to Florida.

The basic math of the campaign, however, made the Florida hit a worthwhile investment for Newsom. It costs less than a percentage point of a 2022 re-election account containing around $20 million. With a second term all but assured, Newsom diverted that money elsewhere and made more noise than he probably would have with conventional California publicity. As of Tuesday, the Twitter video had over three million views.

“For $100,000, you got attention for a million dollars,” said Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio, with “tongue wagging coast to coast.”

While many Democrats nationally expressed a favorable view of Newsom’s jab, one of the Democrats who ran against DeSantis this year wasn’t as enthusiastic about it.

« We’ll take all the help we can get, but the message shouldn’t be to get out of Florida, it’s about fighting for the state we all love and exposing the failures of Ron DeSantis on our economy, our housing and our freedoms, » said Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who follows her main Democratic opponent, Rep. charlie christ (D-Fla.). « We don’t want Floridians to leave – we want them to join us as we stand up for our freedoms and our democracy. »

Denying White House interest has become a regular exercise for the clearly ambitious Newsom. The governor and his team dutifully dismissed the idea that the ongoing feud with Republicans and recent publicity in Florida were a warm-up for a presidential race. Click said he was « absolutely not » exploring a 2024 campaign and pointed to the governor’s previous comment that he had « less than zero interest. » Newsom would face a narrow path, likely having to challenge Vice President Kamala Harris — a fellow Californian with an overlapping base — if Biden does not run again.

DeSantis also regularly asks about his aspirations for 2024, saying he’s focused on his November re-election. The governor of Florida has more than $100 million in funds from large donors as well as small donations from individuals in all 50 states. He has passed Trump in a series of fictitious polls and does not seek the former president’s endorsement.

Nonetheless, the ongoing fight underscores what « could possibly be a marquee matchup in 2024 » if « all the dominoes fall in the right direction, » said Democratic political consultant Maviglio. It helped spark additional interest as national experts and politicians rushed to analyze what it meant.

Whether or not Newsom runs for president, the national spotlight could bolster his standing in California heading into a likely final term by allowing him to ‘demonstrate political strength’ and elevate issues that resonate with voters. , said Ross.

« We’ve seen it with governors in California where they get re-elected, they go into their second terms and pretty quickly they become less and less relevant because everyone is lining up to run, » Ross said. “There are too many assumptions to make a statement for the president. I think it’s a statement of « I want to create political capital and political strength » that you can use for other things, that you can use for anything.


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