“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.
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.