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Shadow 2024 race: Newsom vs. DeSantis

The struggle highlights how two younger governors have captured the eye of their respective events: On one facet is Newsom, a progressive and telegenic chief who survived an tried recall. On the opposite is DeSantis, who is usually heralded as a extra disciplined Donald Trump however who additionally has a penchant for populism and a refusal to again down from a struggle.

“Most politicians operate best when they have somebody or something to contrast against, and there’s no bigger contrast to Gavin Newsom and California right now than Florida and Ron DeSantis,” mentioned Jim Ross, a Democratic marketing consultant who ran Newsom’s first mayoral marketing campaign.

Republicans’ response to Newsom is easy: Bring it on. They say they might love an opportunity to focus on California’s homelessness disaster, shrinking inhabitants and different elements that make it a daily GOP punching bag.

“Egotistical Gavin Newsom is desperate for relevance and attention,” mentioned Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida and a Sarasota County commissioner. “This ad will have zero impact on anything going on in Florida — both in terms of policy and politics. And the only one losing sleep over this ad won’t be Ron DeSantis, but instead Joe Biden will lose midday nap time over this as it clearly shows that Newsom is positioning himself to take on the Democratic president.”

Anthony Pedicini, a GOP marketing campaign marketing consultant in Florida, quipped that “you don’t see many people from Florida leaving to move to California. Newsom should focus on fixing California and leave Florida to the guy that got it right — Ron DeSantis.”

For Newsom, the latest feud fused an outdated strategy with new urgency. He has all the time relished lambasting red-state governors to create a distinction with California’s progressive agenda. Florida has been a favourite goal. Newsom commonly derided the state’s lax strategy to the coronavirus as he touted California’s more-stringent technique. DeSantis’s emergence as a nationwide determine and presidential contender has additional fueled that antagonism.

Newsom has intensified his assaults on each Republican elected officers and the U.S. Supreme Court after the excessive courtroom handed down landmark opinions on weapons, abortion and the setting that have been anathema for California Democrats. Newsom introduced he was signing gun restrictions final week with a Twitter video directed squarely at his opponents. “To members of the United States Supreme Court, to right-wing Republicans all across this country: do you have no common decency?” he requested.

It additionally allowed Newsom to proceed in search of to form the nationwide Democratic Party’s techniques. The governor has already publicly assailed Democrats’ strategy to abortion rights as too timorous, asking “where the hell is my party?”

“Governor Newsom believes now is not the time for Democrats to roll over and accept defeat. Now is the time for Democrats to fight,” marketing campaign spokesperson Nathan Click mentioned in an emailed assertion.

DeSantis, who has been shifting forward confidently on his 2022 reelection marketing campaign and is seen as a likely candidate in 2024, has targeted extra of his power of late on Biden, bashing him over the whole lot from immigration to gasoline costs as he additionally opened up battles over schooling and gender id. But California — and by extension Newsom — has additionally been a favourite supply of criticism. In the final month, DeSantis has routinely cited the recall of San Francisco’s district legal professional to focus on what he calls a rising backlash to liberal insurance policies. He additionally began a much-publicized feud with California-based Walt Disney Co. over the leisure large’s opposition to a Florida regulation that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender id for youths in kindergarten by third grade.

DeSantis marketing campaign spokesperson Dave Abrams, in a press release, derided the California governor’s advert by saying that “Gavin Newsom might as well light a pile of cash on fire. Pass the popcorn for his desperate attempt to win back the California refugees who fled the hellhole he created in his state to come to Florida.”

Basic marketing campaign math, nevertheless, made the Florida jab a worthy funding for Newsom. It value lower than a proportion level of a 2022 reelection account containing round $20 million. With a second time period all however assured, Newsom diverted that cash elsewhere and made an even bigger splash than he seemingly would have with a traditional California advert. As of Tuesday, the Twitter video had greater than three million views.

“For $100,000 you got a million dollars’ worth of attention,” Democratic marketing consultant Steve Maviglio mentioned, with “coast to coast tongue wagging.”

While many Democrats nationally chimed in with a positive opinion of Newsom’s jab, one of many Democrats truly working in opposition to DeSantis this yr wasn’t as enthused about it.

“We’ll take all the help we can get, but the message shouldn’t be about leaving Florida, it’s about fighting for the state that we all love and exposing Ron DeSantis’ failures on our economy, housing, and freedoms,” mentioned Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who has been trailing her Democratic main opponent Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). “We don’t want Floridians to leave — we want them to join us as we defend our freedoms and our democracy.”

Denying White House curiosity has develop into a daily train for the clearly bold Newsom. The governor and his group dutifully rejected the notion that the continuing feud with Republicans and up to date advert in Florida was a warm-up for a presidential run. Click mentioned he was “absolutely not” exploring a 2024 marketing campaign and pointed to the governor’s earlier remark that he had “subzero interest.” Newsom would face a slender path, seemingly needing to problem Vice President Kamala Harris — a fellow Californian with an overlapping base — ought to Biden not run once more.

DeSantis too commonly shoots down questions over his 2024 aspirations, saying he’s targeted on his November reelection. The Florida governor has greater than $100 million in funds from big-money donors in addition to small-dollar donations from people in all 50 states. He has topped Trump in a series of straw polls and isn’t asking the previous president for an endorsement.

Nevertheless, the continuing struggle underscores what “might conceivably be a marquee 2024 matchup” if “all the dominoes fall in the right direction,” Democratic political marketing consultant Maviglio mentioned. That helped generate further curiosity as nationwide pundits and politicians rushed to research what it meant.

Whether or not Newsom runs for president, the nationwide highlight may bolster his standing in California as he approaches a possible ultimate time period by permitting him to “demonstrate political strength” and elevate points that resonate with voters, Ross mentioned.

“We’ve seen it with governors in California where they get re-elected, they go into their second term and pretty quickly they become less and less relevant because everyone else is lining up to run,” Ross mentioned. “There’s too many what-ifs to make this a declaration for president. I think it’s a declaration of ‘I want to create some political capital and political strength’ that you can use for other things, that you can use for whatever.”

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