Politico

Newsom attacks red state rival again with Texas newspaper ads calling out Abbott


California Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken out Texas newspaper ads assailing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in a move certain to spur more chatter about Newsom’s potential presidential ambitions.

Newsom went after Abbott on his home turf weeks after doing the same with Florida television spots excoriating Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. The moves intensified Newsom’s longstanding tactic of using red-state foils to extol California’s progressive agenda and amplified talk about Democrats eyeing White House runs as the party frets about President Joe Biden’s sinking poll numbers.

The full-page Texas newspaper advertisements — which ran in the El Paso Times, Houston Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman — edit a quote from Abbott about “the right to life” being lost to “abortions,” inserting the word “gun violence” instead — a direct rebuke to Abbott’s record on two highly charged issues.

Elevating the contrast, Newsom revealed the advertisements on the same morning he planned to sign legislation that allows Californians to sue illegal gun manufacturers. The bill is directly modeled on a Texas bill allowing people to sue abortion providers, and Newsom has framed it as a direct legal challenge to the conservative Supreme Court that allowed the Texas law to stand.

While Newsom has steadfastly denied he has any intention to seek the presidency in 2024, the Florida and Texas spots have allowed him to leap into the national conversation for a negligible cost. Newsom has urged national Democrats to be more assertive as the U.S. Supreme Court has erased abortion rights and issued other sweeping rulings.

The Texas spots cost about $30,000 — a tiny fraction of the more than $20 million Newsom has on hand for a reelection that’s all but assured. As with the Florida spot, Newsom gave an exclusive look at the Texas ads to a national publication in an effort to generate broad coverage.

Biden has been adamant that he will seek another term. But should Biden decide to step aside, Newsom’s path to the White House would likely be obstructed by Vice President Kamala Harris, a fellow Californian who shares a Bay Area base with Newsom.

Newsom spent last week meeting with White House officials and senators in Washington, D.C., where he lambasted Texas and Florida in a speech accepting an education award. He is set to mingle with other governors in Los Angeles on Friday evening for a Democratic Governors Association fundraiser.

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