California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged $100,000 to the campaign of former Republican Governor and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate of Florida Charlie Crist in the latest political maneuver against Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
In recent years, Newsom and DeSantis have sparred over politics and the Governorship of their respective states. Issues such as the economy, population shifts, the loss and/or gain of House seats, abortion, LGBT rights, COVID-19 pandemic policies and companies moving over tax reasons were brought up to the national level of media many times. Most recently, different abortion laws and LGBT rights of both states have been hotly contested, with California urging Disney to bring jobs back to California over a gender orientation bill in Florida and Governor Newsom airing controversial ads last month in several Florida markets urging Floridians to move to California.
At the same time, DeSantis has become one of the favorites to run for president on the GOP ticket in 2024, with Newsom signaling more that he will take on Joe Biden during the Democratic primaries in early 2024. However, while Newsom is all but assured victory this November in the California gubernatorial race against Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), with recent polls showing Newsom currently up in votes 2-1, the story is different in Florida. The race is much closer in Florida, with DeSantis taking on former Governor Crist, who led Florida from 2007 to 2011 and has been a Congressman for his Florida district since 2017. Polls in Florida currently show only a 7-8 point gap with a few months to go in a state that is still considered a swing state by and large.
With Newsom and DeSantis still sparring with another, and Crist winning the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Newsom donated $100,000 to Crist on Thursday. In a speech in Los Angeles, Newsom noted his dislike for DeSantis and praised Crist for challenging the incumbent Governor. In particular, Newsom highlighted a recent speech by DeSantis in which he said of Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci that “Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”
“I was compelled to donate to Crist because I don’t like bullies,” said Newsom on Thursday. “To call someone pejorative terms because they’re short. Who the hell raised these guys? What kind of people are they? I know all of us had to sit there and suck it up and take Trump’s demonization but not everybody has to act like him. I mean, literally, I remember growing up and folks would have their mouths washed out with soap if they talked like this. I got four kids; I don’t want these guys being models.”
Newsom/Crist v. DeSantis
In a follow up Tweet, Newsom added that it is “time to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor. I’m pledging $100k right now to Charlie Crist. Who will join me in helping Charlie become the next Governor of Florida?”
Time to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor.
I'm pledging $100k right now to @CharlieCrist.
Who will join me in helping Charlie become the next Governor of Florida? https://t.co/YvpkkGKkOb
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 25, 2022
Crist responded positively to Newsom’s tweet, soon tweeting back “Great to have you on Team Crist, Gavin Newsom! I’ve said it all along, DeSantis isn’t just a Florida problem. He wants to be president and force his radical right-wing views on the country. When we beat him this November, that show is OVER.”
Great to have you on Team Crist, @GavinNewsom!
I've said it all along, DeSantis isn’t just a Florida problem. He wants to be president and force his radical right-wing views on the country.
When we beat him this November, that show is OVER. Join us today:https://t.co/Bgss6lGA0E
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) August 25, 2022
However, many political insiders note that despite the large donation and likely many donations coming in as a result of Newsom’s action on Thursday, this may hurt Newsom in the long run.
“If Newsom and DeSantis are on a debate stage in two years, and don’t forget that that is quite possible at this point, Newsom is going to have to explain how that donation wasn’t petty of him,” noted Liam Washburn, a Maryland-based political analyst who focuses on Gubernatorial races, to the Globe on Thursday. “Newsom is just grabbing attention and fanning flames. The smart thing would have been a straight endorsement and maybe showing up for some events. Out of state lawmakers do this all the time. But giving a donation this large? It’s not exactly common, especially being so blatant about it on Twitter.”
“Newsom has clearly not liked DeSantis for years, and he thinks that this is his chance to push him out of the game early on. But this is going to come back and bite him. He’s doing rash things now to score some quick and easy points, but in the long run, he’s just giving ammunition to be used against him in later elections. And don’t forget, even if DeSantis is out of being Governor, it doesn’t mean his political career is over. Reagan had been out of Governor for a few years when he ran in 1976 and 1980. Bill Clinton had been pushed out for a few years in Arkansas before going right back in. At this point, Newsom is just going to make DeSantis all the more determined to best him.”
As of Thursday evening, Governor DeSantis had yet to respond to Newsom’s donation to Crist.
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