Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom and Republican opponent Brian Dahle appeared in a debate on Sunday, where Newsom promised he would finish a term as governor if he is re-elected on November 8.
“Everyday Californians understand what is happening here in California and the governor is focused on running for president,” Dahle said during the debate.
Co-moderator Marisa Lagos asked Newsom if he would serve his entire four-year term if he wins. Newsom answered, “yes.”
Newsom has fueled rumors of a 2024 presidential run as he attacks Republican leaders in other states, such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He has even traveled to the White House and placed billboard advertisements in Republican-led states to boast about California’s abortion availability.
In the debate, Newsom claimed he has “barely” left California to go after heads of the Republican Party, who he also reportedly claimed are “demeaning” LGBT people and banning books.
“This is a serious moment in American history,” Newsom said. “I’ve had enough. So I’ll proudly and happily stand up.”
Dahle attacked the economic situation in the state, pointing to the increased fuel cost.
“He’s out of touch with everyday, hard-working, middle-class Californians,” Dahle said. “Yes, he and his friends can afford Teslas at $70,000, but Californians on the whole have no opportunity but to just suffer from the policies Gavin Newsom has put forward.”
He also emphasized that Newsom backs Proposition 1, which would enshrine abortion and contraception rights into the California Constitution, noting that it would legalize abortion “to the minute before birth.”
Newsom has said he is not planning to run for president. President Joe Biden has said he intends to run for re-election in 2024 but has not yet made a “formal decision.”
Biden nodded and paused after he was asked if first lady Jill Biden is supportive of him running again, saying, “My wife thinks that we’re doing something very important and that I shouldn’t walk away from it.”
If Vice President Kamala Harris decides to run in Biden’s place, one mega Democrat bundler in the Golden State told Politico last month that “the sitting vice president by definition” would be a problem for Newsom because of the position she holds.
However, he said, “Gavin’s donors like him better than her donors like her.”