Gavin Newsom promotes California as an Abortion Sanctuary on Red State billboards

“The idea that these Republican politicians are trying to ‘protect life’ is a complete farce,” Newsom said in a statement. “They are trying to restrict and control their constituents and take away their freedom.”

California, one of the country’s least restrictive abortion states, stepped up its efforts to protect reproductive rights this year following the Supreme Court ruling. The state legislature recently passed more than a dozen bills that expand abortion access and funding and included an initiative in the November ballot that would enshrine abortion and contraceptive rights in the state constitution.

Recent polls show that the voting measure, Proposition 1, has overwhelming support among voters. Newsom is almost certain to win his candidacy for re-election this fall, with the latest polls showing a 27-point lead over his Republican rival, state Senator Brian Dahle.

The announcements immediately sparked allegations that Newsom is using billboards to further its presidential ambitions, which it denied even as it has repeatedly taken steps to bolster its national profile.

“It is very interesting to see that Governor Newsom’s 2024 primary campaign has extended to Mississippi,” said Cory Custer, Governor Tate Reeves’ deputy chief of staff for external affairs. “But we suspect most Mississippians won’t be interested in what they’re selling.”

This isn’t the first time this year that Newsom aims to raise its national profile by chasing Republican state governors. During the July 4th vacation, he posted an ad on Fox News in Florida attacking Governor Ron DeSantis. Later in the summer, he bought full-page ads in three Texas newspapers highlighting Governor Greg Abbott’s lack of support for gun control measures following the Uvalde school shooting.

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In addition to the blows to Republican leaders, also Newsom on Thursday sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garlandcalling for a formal investigation into reports that DeSantis and Abbott transported immigrants from the southern border to democratic strongholds.

Molly Weedn, spokesperson for the Yes to Proposal 1 campaign, praised the Newsom billboards, calling them further proof of California’s support for access to abortion and reproductive freedoms.

“Abortion is in the ballot this fall with Proposition 1 and these billboards are another reminder to voters about the importance of this issue,” he said in a statement.

Political observers generally agree that out-of-state campaigns will do little to change Republican leaders’ minds, but they could annoy an electorate that has expressed discontent with Washington’s leaders in recent months. .

“I think most of the Democratic base really thinks the Democratic establishment is too secretive, too buttoned up and a bit boring,” said Bill Wong, a longtime California Democrat consultant. “It doesn’t have to be a very strategic move for it to make sense, for people to say ‘Hey, I love it, so I’m going to contribute to Governor Newsom’s efforts.’

Newsom’s campaign on Thursday spent $ 100,000 running ads on 18 billboards across seven states, a small fraction of the nearly $ 24 million it has in its war chest for re-election. But like his other out-of-state campaigns, billboards are generating significant media coverage.

“It’s a really clever asymmetrical move,” Wong said. “$ 2 million in California will get you at 2am. or a $ 5 million media purchase. “

Unsurprisingly, the billboards also fuel further speculation about Newsom’s White House ambitions.

The governor of California has repeatedly rejected suggestions that he would like to run for president. In May, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he has a “sub-zero” interest in a 2024 offer. Speaking to the Washington Post, Newsom said he is paying for the billboards because he has “the privilege of being able to. Do”.

“I’m doing it because I care. I do this because the people who support my candidacy support this. And when many learned about it, they wanted to support further efforts like this, to be completely transparent with you, “he told the Washington Post.

If he wanted to run for president, the way forward is mired in political uncertainty. Newsom publicly supports President Joe Biden for a second term in 2024 and said he would approve Vice President Kamala Harris as his successor.

But there are some signs that Newsom may be seizing an opportunity. An August poll found that Californians overwhelmingly don’t want Biden looking for another term and seeing the governor as one of the top candidates to succeed him. Newsom has also found itself at odds with the president in recent weeks. Sources told POLITICO earlier this month that the governor was privately furious at Biden’s approval of a labor bill that Newsom was supposed to veto.

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