It’s a very smart move by Newsom, and speaks to the ongoing uncertainty over whether President Joe Biden runs again in 2024.
Let’s start with the strategy here.
This was never about actually hurting DeSantis, who, like Newsom, is heavily favored to win a second term in November. How do I know? Because the ad buy was for just over $100,000 — a tiny expenditure in a state as massive as Florida. And that it ran on only Fox News speaks to Newsom’s real goals here.
So, what better way to make yourself known nationally — and with a reputation as a fighter — than to take a (symbolic) swing at the big Republican on the block?
It’s also worth considering what Newsom’s gambit says about Biden.
Newsom’s ad — and the resulting publicity — speak to those doubts, and will fuel them. There is just no way that Newsom goes after DeSantis — even with a small TV ad buy — unless he thinks there is a possibility that he might be facing the Florida governor come November 2024 (or at least wants Democratic activists and donors to be considering that possibility). Which would mean no Biden in the race.
The Point: Newsom isn’t waiting until he wins a second term as governor to start the 2024 race. He’s hoping to get a head start.