California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s campaign has bought ad time in Florida for the July 4th weekend, prodding speculation about his presidential aspirations.
The Democrat’s campaign reserved $105,000 worth of spots on Fox News in the Sunshine State in order to position himself as an alternative to popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to SF Gate.
“Stay tuned,” spokesman Nathan Click told the outlet.
Newsom asserted that his focus is on running for governor of California and he flatly denied any plans to run for national office.
However, the distant ad blitz caught the attention of some Golden State observers.
“The Governor who said he has ‘subzero interest’ in running for President will reportedly air ads in a state — ‘checks notes’ — 2,700 miles away from his own,” tweeted Bay Area reporter Ashley Zavala in reaction to the purchase.
Newsom has exhorted Democrats to take a harder and more vocal line on culture war flashpoints in recent months while routinely training his sights on DeSantis.
“I do not look for inspiration from that particular governor,” Newsom said of his counterpart in March, adding that he viewed the Floridian’s outspoken manner as theater.
The Californian has repeatedly critiqued DeSantis on his approach to COVID-19 and banning of critical race theory in schools.
Newsom has also ripped Florida’s law banning instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation to children in kindergarten through the fourth grade.
“Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party?” he asked the Atlantic in an interview this month. “You guys paying attention to what’s going on?”
DeSantis, meanwhile, has delighted in crowing about the influx of disaffected Californians decamping for Florida in recent years, while casting the state as the dysfunctional product of bungled leadership.
“Yes there’s a lot of Californians who like what we’re doing who are coming, but even the ones that posture against Florida typically find their way here,” DeSantis said on Fox News in March.
His press secretary, Christina Pushaw, referenced the ad buy on Twitter Monday.
“Californians… aren’t you glad you pay 60% of your income in taxes to bankroll fun projects like this?” she wrote.
Both men are facing November re-election votes in their respective states.