There's been plenty of speculation that Gavin Newsom's public sparring with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is setting them up to be rivals for the White House someday. But for now, as Newsom runs for a second term as California's governor, he says he's rooting for Kamala Harris to be the next Democratic nominee.
What's not being said too much among Democrats is whether they foresee Biden having a one-term presidency, and whether or not he might even bow out before the general in 2024 and let Harris take the spotlight. (For all we know, that was a quiet understanding they've had all along.)
But when asked by a reporter Thursday about his own presidential ambitions, in light of his current campaign for a second term as governor, Newsom claimed to not even considering such a thing right now. He didn't say never, but at least for now, he's not aiming for the White House.
The reporter asked if Newsom would promise to voters that he would finish out his second term, which will run through 2026, and Newsom replied that he believes Harris should be the next president, after Biden.
"Yeah, I mean, I have sub-zero interest,” Newsom said, per the Chronicle. “It's not even on my radar.”
Without suggesting that we're necessarily talking about Harris running instead of Biden in 2024, Newsom said, "I'm hopeful that she's the next president of the United States."
Why all the sparring with DeSantis and Texas Governor Greh Abbott right now, if he's not trying to take the national stage and talk tough to Republican rivals? Well, it may just be laying groundwork for a presidential bid in his golden years. At 54 years old, Newsom still has plenty of time to run for president, or even the Senate, at some point. And it's not politically expedient for him at this point to be seen as trying to cut in line in front of a Black woman, and potentially our first female president at that.
New York Times journalist Jonathan Martin recently went on the Chronicle's It's All Political on Fifth and Mission podcast, and he suggested that Newsom "can smell" the matchup with DeSantis on the national stage, somewhere down the line. Martin recently coauthored a book about the 2020 race with Alex Burns titled This Will Not Pass, which is basically a long, cold look at how broken democracy has become.
Also, are the days of conventionally handsome, politically liberal, straight white men getting to lead the Democratic Party behind us? That could be part of Newsom's calculations, too.
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