Governor Gavin Newsom needed, of course, to reassure California voters this year that he wasn't planning to skip out and seek federal office, so that he could assure his reelection in November. But he seems to really want to tamp down the loud rumor that he's looking to replace Biden on the 2024 ticket.
It's been two weeks since Donald Trump made the unsurprising announcement of his candidacy for president in 2024 — and he likely thinks he'll "win big" like he always does and barely even needs to campaign, though the man seriously loves a rally more than life itself.
And Newsom continues to be floated, at least in the minds of California Democrats, as a potential primary candidate for the 2024 race, should Biden decide not to run for reelection because he is 80 years old and will be two weeks shy of 82 by the time that election happens.
Newsom last reassured everyone that he plans to fulfill his entire four-year term as governor, through 2026, in an October debate with his hopeless Republican rival, state Sen. Brian Dahle. Dahle was, at the time, trying to use one of the only compelling bits of fodder he had against Newsom in his uphill battle to become governor, saying to reporters after the debate, "You all know he’s running for president of the United States. It’s obvious. He’s spending money in other states. He’s not focused on California, and Californians are suffering."
Back in May, Newsom insisted that he had "sub-zero interest" in running for president, adding that he would root for VP Kamala Harris to be the next nominee, if and when Biden retires or completes a second term. Then a July poll suggested Newsom had a good chance of beating Trump in a potential general election.
It's still hard not to notice all the stepping onto the national stage that Newsom keeps trying to do, calling out likely 2024 Republican hopeful Gov. Ron DeSantis for his anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ bullshit in Florida.
So, in a new interview with Politico, we see Newsom once again saying he won't run in 2024. And he says he had a phone call with the White House on Election Day reiterating his full support for Biden's reelection. "I’m all in, count me in," Newsom says he told the Biden team. "I’ve told everyone in the White House, from the chief of staff to the first lady."
Plenty of Democratic insiders seem to have continued murmuring about Newsom trying to step into fray for 2024. And Newsom says to Politico, "It’s frustrating because I have so much reverence and respect for not only the president but the vice president is an old friend, for all of those interesting things you guys all love to write about, we’ve known each other for 25 years."
Newsom insisted that even if Biden volunteers to step aside and let a primary happen, he still wouldn't run, at least not until later.
It's hard not to wonder, though, what negotiations have occurred and "what ifs" bandied about behind the scenes. If Newsom did step aside in a potential open field in 2024 and Harris, or another Democrat, managed to take the White House and keep it for another eight years, that would put Newsom's ambitions on the backburner until 2032 or beyond, at which point he'd be 64 years old. Maybe Harris has promised to tap him for Veep?
Anyhow, as Axios notes, a significant majority of Americans polled, 68%, say they don't want Biden as a nominee in 2024. However polling also suggests Biden would likely beat Trump or DeSantis, and that he's preferred as a candidate over Harris or Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Top image: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference on October 06, 2022 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was joined by the governors of Washington, Oregon and the premier of British Columbia to sign a new climate agreement to further expand the region’s climate partnership. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)