California Governor Gavin Newsom Has Made His Decision on 2024

It has long been speculated that Gavin Newsom, an ultra-progressive politician who survived a recall effort in his state after dissatisfaction with his COVID-19 policies, was eyeing a run for the White House.

In fact, he’s even gone so far as to run negative ads and put up billboards criticizing Ron DeSantis in a bid to separate himself from the popular Florida governor.

It appears, though, that Newsom has decided to forgo a run for President in 2024 – at least if Joe Biden is running. This comes via a piece at POLITICO this morning.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has won three elections in five years in America’s largest state, is apoplectic about his party’s messaging defects and follows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the right-wing media ecosystem with a zeal that would put some opposition researchers to shame.

But Newsom wants the word to go forth: He’s not going to challenge President Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024.

Newsom has made sure that everyone knows he has no interest in challenging Biden (though, admittedly, the cynical among us may say he “doth protest too much“).

“I’ve told everyone in the White House, from the chief of staff to the first lady,” he recounted to me as we sat on the top floor of California’s now-ceremonial governor’s mansion on election night.

His message to Ron Klain and Jill Biden over the summer — when he visited Washington amid growing speculation, and considerable West Wing irritation, that he was plotting a primary challenge — was to count him as a firm supporter of Biden’s reelection: “I’m all in, count me in,” he said he told them.

Newsom relayed the same to Biden himself on election night.

Gavin Newsom
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The California governor certainly has reason to think he has some sort of mandate. He’s won three elections in the last five years. But he is probably overestimating his nationwide appeal if he thinks he can pull off the popular electoral vote. Joe Biden won the 2020 election from a basement while avoiding most extreme positions. Newsom has no such filter.

We can see his lack of filter in the crazy ads he ran against DeSantis. He was attempted to nationalize his brand and… it didn’t really take off. It got some headlines but Newsom was recalled in his own state. DeSantis turned a governor’s mansion he barely won in 2018 into a 20-point decisive victory in 2022 – including growth among groups traditionally considered Democratic lock-ins, like black and Hispanic Americans.

Newsom is far more progressive and suffers from almost Trump-like levels of ego, and he wants to turn that into a presidential run in maybe 2028? That seems kind of nuts from the current perspective.

But… he is saying he won’t run if Biden runs. If Biden decides to step down, though? Apparently, it’s on.

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