A California fundraiser closely linked to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom told TheWrap that after the midterm elections, Newsom "absolutely is going to announce that he is running for the presidency once Biden announces that he is not running."
President Joe Biden recently cast doubt on whether he would seek reelection. In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes," which aired on September 18, the 79-year-old suggested that while he had previously indicated he would run again, "it's just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen."
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that 54% of Americans disapprove of the president and that his favorability was dropping among Democrats as well as with Republicans.
A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that 64% of Democrat voters would prefer someone other than Biden, the oldest president in American history, to run in 2024. The number of voters under the age of 30 keen on fresh blood is far higher, figuring at 94%.
High inflation, a disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, an unprecedented border crisis, and a long list of scandals together may dog Biden in the 2024 presidential race, in addition to the looming prospect of impeachment by a Republican-controlled House or removal via the 25th Amendment.
"Undeniably, unequivocally," said the fundraiser of Newsom's intentions. "No ifs, ands or buts. He will run if Biden does not."
A Los Angeles philanthropist entrenched in the Democratic Party similarly suggested that Newsom will run should Biden bow out.
Newsom survived a recall election in 2021, with 61.9% voting to keep him, and advanced from the Democratic primary on June 7 of this year. He once again faces a general election on November 8, this time facing Republican Brian Dahle, against whom he is expected to win.
Nevertheless, the California governor has recently been looking outside his state and making national plays for attention.
Newsom recently targeted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a potential opponent in the 2024 presidential election. On September 16, he challenged DeSantis to a debate, promising to bring his hair gel, which the Florida governor indicated had been "interfering with his brain function."
Newsom has also been advertising his California's fetal abattoirs in Republican-controlled states. Some of his billboards in Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, and elsewhere read "You do not need to be a California resident to receive abortion services."
In addition to serving as invitations to exterminate the unborn in his state, he indicated his rationale was that "the people that support my candidacy support this."
Newsom has also launched television ads, including one in Florida castigating DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, which stated "Freedom, it's under attack in your state ... Republican leaders, they're banning books, making it harder to vote ... even criminalizing women and doctors."
TheWrap reported that in addition to sending out feelers, Newsom may also be setting up the network and financial backing he would need for a presidential run. Over the summer, he reportedly spoke to a number of political consultants with minds to national elections.
Like Vice President Kamala Harris, Newsom has also recently been networking with deep-pocketed influencers and fundraisers. He met with Heather Podesta, a lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser, claiming he did so to support the Democratic Governors Association.
The Democratic field in 2024 may be populated with familiar faces, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Va.), and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
If Newsom runs, he may also contend with Vice President Kamala Harris, who has indicated that Biden "has been very clear that he intends to run again. And if he does, I will be running with him proudly."
According to a recent Harvard Harris Poll, 50% of respondents found Harris unfavorable, whereas only 37% found her favorable.
Newsom remains popular in California despite overseeing an energy crisis, an epidemic of fires, high crime, and markedly diminished freedoms.
Owing largely to state Democrats' energy policies, California's electric grid is highly unstable. The state relies heavily upon solar and renewable energy, although routine strains on the grid have prompted Newsom to keep California's last nuclear plant open.
Despite the government's antipathy for fossil fuels, the state has also had to burn more gas in recent years and ration electricity to avoid a recurrence of the rolling blackouts that left hundreds of thousands of residents in the dark for hours and days at a time in 2020.
Massive swaths of federal and nonfederal land have been consumed in California wildfires over the past several years. Although Newsom has argued that climate change is the culprit, he has been accused of transforming his state into "a tinderbox waiting for a spark" and of having "failed to take care of forestry management in California."
Minority Leader of the California State Assembly James Gallagher told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that the Newsom administration's refusal to stand up to "big special interests in California [like] the Sierra Club," who don't want any trees cut, "is the cause of these fires and is leading to people dying."
As destructive as the wildfires have been, crime in Newsom's California has proved exceedingly more lethal. The chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in the state are 1 in 227, and the likelihood of becoming a victim of a property crime is 1 in 47.
In 2021, there were 2,361 murders in California, setting the violent crime rate up to 466.2 per 100,000 from 437 the previous year. At the same time that murders were on the rise, arrests were falling, from 2,812.3 per 100,000 people in 2020 to 2,606.3 per 100,000 last year.
The streets are not only home to worsening violent crime. According to the California Health Care Foundation, as of 2020, there were at least 255,000 homeless persons in the state, up significantly from previous years.
The Public Policy Institute of California estimated there were at least 2.3 million illegal aliens living in California as of 2019, composing approximately 6% of the population.
Although Newsom has suggested in his messaging to voters in red states that their freedoms are under attack, California ranks #48 overall in the Cato Institute's "Freedom in the 50 States" index of personal and economic freedom.
William Ruger, vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute, and Jason Sorens, director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Saint Anselm College, authored the libertarian think tank's report, which stated, "California is one of the least free states in the country, largely because of its long-standing poor performance on economic freedom."
The report indicated that under Newsom, "California is one of the highest-taxed states in the country ... one of the worst states on land-use freedom," home to the weakest gun rights in the country, and its freedoms have "weakened consistently over time."