California Governor Gavin Newsom is committed to a reelection bid this November, but ads of his that ran in Florida on the Fourth of July accusing the GOP of stealing Floridians' freedom are raising questions about his political aspirations in 2024.
The 30-second spot airing on Fox News takes shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his policies, while drawing a contrast with California. Some say DeSantis could be a contender for the Republican presidential candidate nomination.
“Freedom, it’s under attack in your state. Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors,” Newsom says in the ad while images of DeSantis and President Donald Trump flash on screen.
“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight. Or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love," Newsom says.
Newsom has said in the past that he has no plans to run for the White House in 2024, but some analysts say President Biden's approval rating is declining and anything is possible in this political climate.
"It's so interesting to see that his political fortune seemingly has shifted in almost a 180 degree direction," political consultant Laura Fink told NBC 7. "The turnaround from being recalled, potentially, to requiring all of these Democratic resources to save him from some of the provocative comments, the French Laundry scandal, and now here he is gunning to be a contender in '24 for the top job in the United States."
Newsom beat back a recall attempt last year and is expected to cruise to reelection in November.
The governor has said he has no interest in running for president, but the ad is sure to stoke speculation that the 54-year-old Democrat is eyeing national office. DeSantis is a potential 2024 GOP candidate for the White House.
"I think he is definitely trying to keep his name out there but he also has no real competition against his republican opponent in California, so he has extra money to spend," University of San Francisco professor James Taylor said.
Newsom has also recently made an account Trump's social media platform Truth Social where he's posted videos and commentary similar to the Florida ad.