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California Gov. Gavin Newsom will run for president if Biden does not, says fundraiser

The two are considered frontrunners for a potential 2024 presidential run

September 19, 2022 2:38pm

Updated: September 19, 2022 8:24pm

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will seek the Democratic presidential nomination if President Joe Biden does not, even if it means challenging Vice President Kamala Harris, a leading political fundraiser told The Wrap Monday. 

Newsom, who recently extended a challenge to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his relocating 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, plans to make a formal announcement after the midterm elections once Biden announces his plans on whether to seek a second term, the outlet reported. 

“After this midterm election is over, he absolutely is going to announce that he is running for the presidency once Biden announces that he is not running,” a prominent California fundraiser with close ties to Newsom told TheWrap. “No ifs, ands or buts. He will run if Biden does not.”

In a recent interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday, Biden said it was “much too early” to say one way or another if he was running. 

“Look, my intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again,” Biden said. “But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”

Newsom, who is currently seeking reelection against Republican Brian Dahle in the Golden State is expected to prevail since the state heavily leans Democratic.

Formally, the California governor's office has tried to dispel the 2024 run report. In July, while visiting the White House, he gave an interview saying as much. 

“I’ve tried to say, ​no, ​no way, in every way I possibly can!”​ he said in an interview in July.​“I may need advice ​and counsel of what’s the language to express ‘absolutely no!’”

But many are predicting a presidential run since he has also been running ads aimed at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about gun laws there, and continues to pursue Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

"Hey Gov. Ron DeSantis, clearly you're struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives. Since you have only one overriding need -- attention --let's take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day," Newsom tweeted on Friday.

He mentioned hair products in reference to a comment by DeSantis during a Friday news conference where he said Newsom’s “hair gel is interfering with his brain’s function.”

Newsom was replying to a proposal by journalist Dan Rather to CNN’s new head Chris Licht for a “one-on-one” between the two big state governors.

“Who would have the courage to show up?” the former CBS anchor mused.

DeSantis and Newsom have been speculated as potential alternatives to their parties’ standard bearers – former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.

Trump has consistently polled well among Republicans, winning multiple straw polls over his rival DeSantis.

But polls of the general electorate have also found most Americans don’t want either Trump or Biden to run for the White House in 2024.

The California and Florida governors have sparred on the airwaves other times this year. Newsom released an ad over Independence Day weekend urging Floridians to move to California over DeSantis’ policies on education and voter registration.

A Florida PAC responded with a parody of Newsom’s ad that used some of the same footage to depict how DeSantis’ policies allowed Florida residents to go outside or attend school.

On Thursday, Newsom called for a federal investigation of southern state governors’ migrant bus program.