Gov. Gavin Newsom Airs Ad in Florida Saying, 'Join Us in California, Where We Still Believe in Freedom'

·3 min read
Gov. Gavin Newsom Says in Ad Airing in Florida: ‘Join Us in California, Where We Still Believe in Freedom’
Gov. Gavin Newsom Says in Ad Airing in Florida: ‘Join Us in California, Where We Still Believe in Freedom’

Gavin Newsom/Twitter Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping up his criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — and furthering speculation that he might be mulling a 2024 presidential bid — by airing ads in DeSantis' home state urging residents to "join us in California."

"Freedom is under attack in your state," the 54-year-old Democrat says in the ad, which began airing Monday on Fox News affiliates in Florida.

Newsom continues: "Republican leaders – they're banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors. I urge all of you to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom."

"Don't let them take your freedom," Newsom adds.

In the ad, photos of DeSantis, a Republican who is also thought to be considering a run for the presidency, can be seen shaking hands with former President Donald Trump.

Headlines about Florida politics — including some about state lawmakers banning math books and another about DeSantis signing a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks — are also shown throughout the ad.

DeSantis has downplayed his presidential aspirations, even as he remains strikingly popular with the conservative base and often governs in a similar style to Trump, the party's standard-bearer.

Even as he remains tight-lipped about a possible run for higher office, a political source recently told PEOPLE that DeSantis "is popular with Florida Republican voters, which is a good indication of how he would do nationally. He is not afraid to speak out on unpopular issues, and even more important than that, he is not afraid of Donald Trump."

Sources, however, say that Trump is unhappy with DeSantis because the governor did not defer to him while thinking about a potential run for president in 2024.

DeSantis, meanwhile, has raised his national profile in part by fueling culture-war conflicts similar to Trump.

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DeSantis has fought cruise ship companies that sought to require their passengers be vaccinated against COVID-19 and more recently fought Disney over a controversial piece of legislation that opponents have denounced as the "Don't Say Gay" law.

RELATED: Is Donald Trump About to Announce a 2024 Presidential Run — or Is He Trying to Scare Ron DeSantis?

He was also criticized when, as Newsom's ad mentions, a Florida Department of Education review led to the banning of more than 40% of the state's math books due to so-called "prohibited topics." DeSantis accused the books — of "indoctrination."

Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis

Michael Reaves/Getty Ron DeSantis

Newsom has criticized book bans in the past, taking to Twitter in March to share his confusion at the efforts to ban books in some states across the country.

"Reading some banned books to figure out what these states are so afraid of," the Democrat wrote, alongside a photo of himself reading Toni Morrison's Beloved. Other books — including Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and George Orwell's 1984 — could be seen on the table in front of him.

As in Florida, renewed efforts to ban books have been energized by a conservative base and come amid a larger cultural debate about what is appropriate for the classroom.

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