California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), dispelling speculation he plans to run for president in 2024, said he would support Joe Biden’s reelection to a second term.
Newsom, who faces his own reelection next week, has spent more time supporting other Democratic priorities and candidates than on his own campaign. Still, he told “CBS Evening News” he has “no interest” in becoming president.
Asked how he can be so confident in declaring he’s not running in 2024, Newsom replied: “Because it’s not my ambition, and it’s not the direction that I’m leaning into. It’s not the moment.”
Newsom touted Biden’s successes as “remarkable,” given the country’s challenges, and said he’ll support the president if he runs in 2024.
He also offered a blunt assessment of what he sees as his party’s biggest weakness ahead of next week’s midterms.
“We’re getting crushed on narrative,” he said. “We’re going to have to do better in terms of getting on the offense and stop being on the damn defense.”
Newsom said he fears a Republican “red wave,” with polls showing the GOP winning control of the House and possibly the Senate. The specter of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) rising to the post of speaker, he added, “scares the hell out of me” because of his “aiding and abetting functionally authoritarian leaders across his party.”
Newsom championed Democratic causes over the summer with attacks on leaders of GOP states. On the Fourth of July weekend, he aired a campaign ad in Florida calling out the GOP’s legislative actions in “banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors.”
“Freedom is under attack in your state,” Newsom said in the ad, urging Floridians to move to California.
Newsom also bought full-page ads in Texas newspapers modifying a statement by Gov. Greg Abbott to focus attention on California’s gun safety bill, modeled after Texas’ six-week abortion ban.
Newsom, who survived a California recall election last year, has also been fundraising and spending money to prop up Democratic candidates in gubernatorial and House races.
Newsom is projected to win his reelection race against Republican Brian Dahle by over 20 percentage points, according to polling aggregation site FiveThirtyEight.