Forget Donald Trump versus Joe Biden. The biggest prelude to 2024 might just be the escalating back-and-forth between Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis.
The governors for California and Florida have hurled insults about each other’s leadership and policies during most of the Covid-19 pandemic. But now Newsom has ratcheted up the conflict by taking almost daily pot-shots at his Republican foils such as DeSantis and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Most recently, Newsom dropped more than $100,000 on a new ad airing on Fox News that tweaked DeSantis in his home state. On Tuesday, he started fundraising off the ad and conflict with DeSantis.
Fox-watching Floridians won’t likely switch their voter registration or move to California after seeing a TV spot in which Newsom warned them “freedom is under attack in your state.” But the ad is producing a frenzy of national coverage that boosts Newsom’s profile while allowing DeSantis to sharpen his attacks on Democrats ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid.
The fight highlights how two young governors have captured the attention of their respective parties: On one side is Newsom, a progressive and telegenic leader who survived an attempted recall. On the other is DeSantis, who is often heralded as a more disciplined Donald Trump but who also has a penchant for populism and a refusal to back down from a fight. [Continue reading…]