Governor Gavin Newsom released newspaper ads in three Texas newspapers on Friday, attacking the state’s recent abortion law, criticizing them of their stance on gun laws, and fueling speculation that he may be looking at a 2024 run for President.
The ad, which appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle and El Paso Times, starts off with four bullet holes in the shape of stars. Below it is a quote by Texas Governor Greg Abbott over last years signing of Texas’ SB 8 law, which stopped abortions from happening once a heartbeat was detected, essentially ending abortion within the state.
The quote, which reads “Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet children lose their right to life each year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives. – Governor Greg Abbott,” is altered in the ad. The words “abortion,” “Texas,” and “Greg Abbott” are replaced by “gun violence,” “California,” and “Gavin Newsom” respectively.
This is then followed by smaller lettering stating, “These were Governor Abbott’s words when he signed SB 8 into law, essentially banning abortion in the state of Texas. Today Governor Newsom signed SB 1327, California’s answer to Texas’ perverse bill that placed bounties on doctors and patients. If Texas can ban abortion and endanger lives, California can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives. If Governor Abbott truly wants to protect the right to life, we urge him to follow California’s lead.”
The Texas ad has immediately drawn comparison to Newsom’s previous out of state ad buy, the July 4th cable TV ads in Florida. While Newsom is much more focused on his criticism of Texas than Florida, with Newsom specifically going after two major issues in Texas, Newsom was also much more focused on where the ads went out. The targeted cities were either friendly blue cities (Austin) or cities that recently recently faced major shootings either within or close by the city.
Newsom and Texas
Like Newsom going after Florida in recent years, Newsom has also gone after Texas on many occasions over laws they have passed, with many in in Texas, in turn, touting a booming economy and many Californian businesses, such as Tesla and HP Enterprise, moving their headquarters to Texas in the last few years to escape high taxes and tight business regulations in the Golden State. However, Friday’s ad was one of the most targeted criticisms ever made against the state since becoming Governor.
Newsom himself noted the need for the ad and signing the gun bill on Thursday, explaining that these measures are taking the high road compared to what Texas did and that it serves as a reaction against how the Supreme Court has ruled recently in different cases
“It’s absolutely true that I’d much rather follow, ‘When they go low, we go high,'” said Newsom on Thursday. “But I also think we’d be completely missing the moment we’re living in. The door’s open. It’s now fair play. The Supreme Court left the door open.”
“The California measure was written in a way that forces the Supreme Court to reconcile their decision on Texas’ law, when it decided not to block enforcement of the law in December. There’s no principled way for them to strike down this law and uphold Texas.”
The ad also continued speculation that Newsom may be looking at a 2024 presidential run by combatting another red state with recent Californian legislation that also goes after Texas state gun laws and the effect they had on recent mass shootings there. But, ultimately, many political experts noted that the ads were, if anything, were a political play.
“Newsom decided to run that as a newspaper ad. That tells you a lot,” explained political consultant Michele Tyler, who has worked in multiple states, including California and Texas, to the Globe on Friday. “It tells you that this was more of a stunt, because newspapers have been on the decline for sometime. It wasn’t about being seen by readers in Texas. It was all about the media picking up the story, and the ads being spread that way.”
“The ad itself is kind of clever by crossing out some words to make a new quote, but it also misses out on a lot of context. Abortion and gun rights are two very different issues. And he’s trying to get the point across that gun violence has led to the deaths of many and that it should be treated as a moral issue, specifically with him signing a bill along the same lines that Abbott did last year, but it kind of falls flat. It doesn’t say how it works, it doesn’t mention how the bills are alike much, and most critically, Newsom did not use more visceral wording to hammer home his point about gun violence.
“Uvalde and other incidents are not named, and context just goes right out the window because of limited space to say anything. I mean, even attack ads give more factual information than this. And even worse, I don’t know what ad company made this for them, but it is just not effective besides maybe the word cross outs. Texans reading this are going to be offended, just how Floridians from all ends of the political spectrum were.”
“If Newsom was trying to be presidential, he also failed. Presidents would work with states and compromise and unify and work hard to change their minds or at least make it a less bitter pill to swallow. Here he just swoops in, says ‘I’m better than Abbott,’ shows off a law made in another state, then goes out. He’s just angering people in other states, and really, going after other states. What serious contender for president does this?”
As of Friday morning, Texas officials have yet to publicly comment on the ad.