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Is Gavin Newsom Gearing Up For A Presidential Bid?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent public criticisms of conservatives suggests he may be positioning himself for a future presidential run, politics experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Newsom has made a spate of announcements targeting conservatives — such as setting up billboard ads in GOP-led states to promote California as an “abortion sanctuary,” proposing a constitutional convention to pass an amendment controlling gun ownership and sparring with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida regarding migrant flights from his state. The measures have prompted views that Newsom is trying to cultivate a national profile to run for president, which he could do as early as 2024, as well as defend California’s left-wing policy record amid critiques.

“[H]is behavior is consistent with all the things you mention,” said Morris Fiorina, a professor of political science at Stanford University, about whether Newsom was engaged in “candidate behavior” ahead of a presidential contest. “[S]hould the president be unable to run for any reason in 2024, Newsom could be viewed by the party as a 2024 nominee,” Fiorina added, while also mentioning that Newsom was seeking to “position himself for 2028.”

Even as signals indicate that Newsom has presidential ambitions, one expert ascribes his combative activity to efforts to defend California’s left-wing policies for which he has been strongly criticized.

“I think that like any politician, Newsom’s motives are mixed, but they are probably mostly an attempt to provide a loud voice about California and progressive politics,” said Henry E. Brady, the former dean of the Goldman School for Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

If Newsom does not run for president in 2024, he would be eligible for the office in 2028 after his term as governor of California concludes.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, is running for re-election in 2024 and Newsom has said that he will not challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination. However, concerns about Biden’s age and fitness for the presidency — he will be 82 on inauguration day in 2025 and has often committed public gaffes — with some left-wing commentators saying that Newsom would be a strong candidate to succeed him.

“If Joe Biden wasn’t running again for president, surely Gavin Newsom would be the best choice for Dems to put forward,” tweeted Mehdi Hassan, an MSNBC host and political commentator, following Newsom’s interview with Sean Hannity aired on Fox News, an unusual appearance for a Democrat. “[T]he Dems need a fighter. Newsom seems to get that,” Hasan added.

In his appearance on Hannity’s show, Newsom said “everyone has their quiet chatter,” avoiding the question of whether or not he’d been prodded to run for president and whether he thought Biden was fit to serve. Asked whether he’d enter the Democratic primary under any circumstances, Newsom said “No, none.”

Conservatives, by contrast, have poked fun at Newsom over the presidency. “Stop pussyfooting around. Are you going to throw your hat in the ring and challenge Joe, or are you going to sit on the sidelines and chirp,” said DeSantis at a recent public appearance.

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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