California Gov. Gavin Newsom aired an ad over the July Fourth weekend, inviting Floridians to California for more “freedom.”
“It’s Independence Day,” Newsom said in the ad, posted to his Twitter. “So let’s talk about what’s going on in America. Freedom is under attack in your state.
“Republican leaders,” he continued, are “banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors. I urge all of you living in Florida, to join the fight — or join us in California.”
Newsom’s choice of Florida as a focal point for cultural debate may not be an arbitrary one, as speculation looms that the Democratic governor is eyeing a presidential run in 2024. According to the New York Post, Newsom spent $105,000 for ad spots on Fox News in Florida to position himself as an alternative to popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican.
“Stay tuned,” Newsom’s spokesman Nathan Click told the SF Gate ahead of the airing.
Around the time of Click’s comment, Ashley Zavala, who covers the California Capitol for Nexstar Media Group, pointed out that Newsom, “who said he has ‘subzero interest’ in running for President will reportedly air ads in a state …*checks notes* …2,700 miles away from his own.”
The ad comes amid a clash of critiques Newsom waged against DeSantis on issues from COVID-19 policies to critical race theory in schools. But despite it all, the Florida governor, meanwhile, has delighted in the exodus of disaffected Californians bolting for Florida.
“Yes,” DeSantis told Fox, “there’s a lot of Californians who like what we’re doing who are coming, but even the ones that posture against Florida typically find their way here.”
DeSantis’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, referenced the ad buy, tweeting, “Californians… aren’t you glad you pay 60% of your income in taxes to bankroll fun projects like this?”
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