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Would A Rising Pro-Reparations Gavin Newsom Knock Out Biden In DNC Presidential Primary?


With the Democrats facing increased disapproval from members of their own party, some are wondering whether California Gov. Gavin Newsom would be a viable challenger to President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential race.

The speculation comes after Newsom, whose national profile is rising, called out his own party for not doing enough to combat Republicans from successfully pushing their agenda.

“Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party? … Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort. And, yes, they’re winning,” Newsom said in May during a speech in front of a Planned Parenthood office after the draft of the Supreme court decision to overturn the ruling was leaked.

Newsom, 54, is also engaged in a direct attack against Florida Republicans, beginning with Gov. Ron DeSantis. Newsom ran ads over the July 4 weekend encouraging Floridians to come live in California. It’s a move some have praised.

The California governor has gone on record saying he wouldn’t challenge Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2024, according to reports by Politico and the San Franciso Chronicle.

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“Yeah, I mean, I have sub-zero interest,” Newsom said. “It’s not even on my radar.” Referring to Harris, Newsom added that he is “hopeful that she’s the next president of the United States.”

Despite Newsom’s claims, some say they aren’t so sure he isn’t thinking about it.

The New York Times in a recent report accused Newsom of “picking exactly the kinds of fights that presidential candidates like to pick.”

These include Newsom intentionally joining former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform to spar with Republicans and right-wingers, as well as the direct criticism of his own party.

Newsom tweeted on June 16 that he was “going to be on there [Truth Social] calling out Republican lies. This could get…interesting.”

Other pundits said Newsom could be gearing up just in case there is room for him in the 2024 presidential primary.

Potential Biden challengers “don’t know if Biden is going to run or not,” said attorney John Morgan, a well-known attorney and Biden bundler, in a Politico report. “They are thinking, ‘I don’t know if I am going to be at the swim meet or not, but I am going to put my bathing suit on anyway.’”

A bundler is someone with friends in high places who maxes out personal contribution limits then turns to those friends and associates to donate money to the candidate.

“He looks like a million dollars,” Morgan added about Newsom. “And he looks at the Democratic bench and he doesn’t see anyone sitting there, so he says, ‘I am going to sit there.’”

Cedric Richmond, a former senior Biden advisor, said “Everybody is trying to be relevant for the next race. (Newsom) came through the recall election and he’s doing a pretty good job as governor. However, I think ambition makes people do different things.”

Biden recently answered a reporter’s question regarding whether or not he would run in 2024 with a “yes.” He said his “plan is to run for re-election,” adding that it was his “expectation.”

Even if Newsom did renege on his word and challenge Biden and Harris in 2024, some have questioned whether the incumbent governor’s appeal in his home state could translate nationally.

Newsom is pro-reparations for Black American descendants of slavery and has signed several legislative policies to affirm his position. Among them is a bill to create the first-in-the-nation reparations task force and as well as one to return stolen land (known as Bruce’s Beach) to a Black family nearly a century after the government unjustly took it.

A look at Tom Steyer’s candidacy shows it’s not improbable for Newsom to run an effective race. When the billionaire businessman entered the presidential race at the last hour in 2020, he put a dent in Biden’s support among Democrats in South Carolina with a pro-reparations message and a focus on the Black community.

Steyer also invested millions into his campaign. As a result of his outreach and pro-reparations stance, he jumped 15 percent in the 2020 Democratic primary in South Carolina to land at the no. 2 spot in the polls.

Fundraising wouldn’t be a problem for Newsom, according to Politico. “After soundly beating back the recall, Newsom is sitting on a record state budget surplus and had more than $25 million in his campaign accounts,” Politico reported.

Some also have no problem with Newsom’s blunt critiques of his own party.

“He is literally echoing what lots of us think: Our party doesn’t have a message that’s registering with voters,” said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Newsom is simply “telling it like it is,” Brown said.

However, some cautioned Newsom against a 2024 presidential bid, including Harris surrogate Bakari Sellers. The former South Carolina representative told Politico that California’s governor is “no threat to the VP for anything she decides or wants to do. But you have to tread lightly because Joe Biden is still president of the United States and Joe Biden is running again in 2024.”

“An older guy once told me you don’t want to fly too close to the sun,” Sellers added. “I like what Newsom is doing, but I don’t want him to be Icarus and sometimes he gets too close to the sun.”

In the meantime, Newsom supporters reiterated he already holds a prominent position and the 2024 presidential run some are projecting onto him may not even be likely.

“There are worse things than being governor of the largest state in America,” said Democratic strategist Garry South, who served as an advisor to Newsom. “It’s not like he’s the governor of Wyoming or Rhode Island.”

“I have no idea what’s going on in Newsom’s head, but I know the guy pretty well. … Frankly, I’ve never got the feeling from him that he was just dying to run for president,” South concluded.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom prepare to speak about wildfires at Sacramento Mather Airport, Sept. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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