The Intensifying Newsom–DeSantis Rivalry

A 2024 general election between the two of them — as hypothetical as that is — would be a fascinating battle in the nation’s culture wars.

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Last Fourth of July weekend, Gavin Newsom ran ads in Florida urging “all of you living in Florida to join the fight. Or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom.”

The rivalry between the governor of California and the governor of Florida, who each have four more years in office, has become increasingly fraught in recent months. Newsom has called Ron DeSantis a “small, pathetic man” for sending migrants to California, which he describes as “kidnapping.” DeSantis has been similarly personal. On the Mark Levin Show, the Florida governor suggested Newsom’s “obsession” with the Sunshine State might stem from the fact that his in-laws “moved from California to Florida during our administration, and they left during his administration.”

A few weeks ago, on Fox News, Sean Hannity asked Newsom if he would agree to a two-hour debate with DeSantis. “Make it three,” Newsom replied. “I would do it one day’s notice with no notes. I look forward to that.”

DeSantis said Newsom should stop “pussyfooting” around and throw his hat in the ring to “challenge Joe.” Newsom insists that he supports Biden entirely and has no intention of running for president.

A 2024 general election between the two of them — as hypothetical as that is — would be a fascinating battle in the nation’s culture wars. Both men are more ideological than either Biden or Trump. And in terms of strategy, Newsom and DeSantis are more similar than they’d like to think.

Consider their handling of corporations when they come under the influence of their political enemies. When Disney, under pressure from LGBT activists, proclaimed its aim to defeat DeSantis’s education-reform bill, the governor moved to strip the corporation of its 56-year-old “independent special district” status. Similarly, when Walgreens, in response to the Dobbs ruling, decided not to dispense the abortion drug mifepristone in certain states, Newsom suspended the state’s multimillion-dollar contract with the company.

“We stand for the protection of our children,” DeSantis said. “We will fight those who seek to rob them of their innocence. And on that point, there will be no compromise.”

Newsom justified his actions in the same terms: “California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom.”

With immigration, DeSantis has gone on the offensive — busing and flying migrants to blue states, including California. Newsom has acted with similar aggression on other culture-war issues. The transgender “sanctuary” bill he signed into law encourages children to come to California from out of state to receive trans drugs and surgeries. And trans isn’t the only tourism on offer. Newsom also funded a billboard campaign in other states, encouraging women to come to California to end their pregnancies. One ad promoting abortion even used a Bible verse.

Both Newsom and DeSantis are generally quick on their feet. Both present themselves as family men. And both have spoken about their faith-based values. DeSantis is a practicing Catholic. Newsom is definitely not, though he has spoken about the important “Jesuit values” he picked up while in college at Santa Clara University.

Their political differences are perhaps most obvious in their contrasting responses to the pandemic. And it’s on this that DeSantis could do serious damage to Newsom in any televised debate. In 2021, a year after Newsom’s first shutdown, masks were still mandated, indoor dining was limited, and schoolchildren were ordered to get the Covid vaccine (which was later walked back) in California. Meanwhile, Florida had no restrictions and banned private employers from mandating Covid vaccines.

According to the February PPIC Statewide Survey, 58 percent of California adults approve of Newsom’s handling of his job. However, it’s not clear that would carry over to the national level. In March, a Quinnipiac University poll of registered California voters found that 70 percent of voters, including 54 percent of Democrats, felt that Newsom shouldn’t run in 2024.

Click here to read the full article in the National Review


  1. It’s pretty clear Ron will not win the republican primary. He is running on his Florida governor track record, but was that him, or Trumps America first direction? This is a perfect opportunity for him! He should challenge Gavi to run against him as CA GOV for CA GOV. Win, and show he can straighten out Gavi’s mess.

    • Disgusted CA voter and taxpayer says

      Love that idea!!!! The Nuisance should be led to the gallows for the damage he’s done tk CA and the taxpayers. The idiot is DELUSIONAL!!!!

  2. Great idea Rocco, but the good voters (conservatives) had move out of CA! Won’t be enough votes nor does he have the monies backing him as the RATS accumulate to support Devil Gruesome!!!

  3. Californians may believe in freedom, but Newsom’ track record reflects that he definitely does NOT. Newsom craves the spotlight and uses the media very successfully to advance a cleverly disguised, self-aggrandizing and very personal mission. He refused to give up his “emergency” powers for more than two years because he could not relinquish the power that gave him over his subjects. Perhaps he was hoping CoVid-19 would re-emerge in a form requiring his emergency powers to continue indefinitely? Indeed Newsom is a man who would be King. If President, query whether he would:
    –abuse the Executive Order power to impose his will even against a majority of the people
    –impose a complete ban on fossil fuels (but it takes fossil fuels to power the electrical grid)
    –require everyone to remove gas stoves, water heaters and furnaces and replace with electrical ones
    –make all gas-powered cars illegal to operate, permitting only all-electric cars, trucks and trains
    –impose the ‘trans’ radical agendas on our kids, giving government power over parents
    –create a national policy subjecting any person or group opposing abortion to criminal penalties / jail
    The lack of a proper electrical grid will completely collapse the economy and render us pre-industrial, in a Mad-Max type world.
    If DeSantis has a crew doing in-depth research on Newsom, a debate should show the country the consequences of a Newsom presidency. DeSantis has some skeletons, which could have been dampening his level of enthusiasm lately, but they do not rise to the level of Newsom’s lust for power.

  4. Robin Itzler - Patriot Neighbors says

    Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Conservatives in California to make much of a difference on a statewide basis. Many have left and others are planning on leaving to escape high taxes, high crime, high homelessness and all the other gifts that progressives give us.

    Newsom can do what he wants because the California legislature is majority Marxist.

    DeSantis can do what he wants because the Florida legislature is majority Republican.

    It’s so easy to succeed as governor when everyone around you says yes.

  5. No one will mention it, but Newsom was made a YGL (Young Global Leader) by Klaus Schwab in Davos in 2008 (along with his buddy and fellow Totalitarian Justin Trudeau). So Newsom is all in for The Great Reset, Total Control and Neo-Feudalism. Also see the Traitor Corporations at

  6. Rottweiler says

    All I can say is I will not waste a vote on a Republican in CA because they won’t win but I will vote for Kennedy because he is much better than the vacuous, brain addled, corrupt, Progressive, Marxist, Party that originated the KKK and blocked people of color from voting, the DNC party, the party of haters. Anything to put someone in office who has a centrist viewpoint, and that they are terrified of because he does not kowtow to their leftist ideology. The Republicans as a whole are weak sisters compared to this Klan of cheaters, drawing money from China to enrich themselves, creating havoc every single day that Trump was in office. These people are pure evil, they hate this country so much you can see it being devoured from within and they haven’t had to fire one single shot. The DNC party is responsible and are doing wonderfully, just look where we are. No religion, chipping away at our Constitution, flooding our country with illegals, driving up the country’s debt, killing our economy, driving up inflation, and downsizing our military. I won’t be long before we are attacked from another opportunistic enemy due to our weakness of leadership (bumbling demented) Biden and his co-horts.

  7. If you think that the Democrats will let RFK win, think again. He is also still a democrat at heart, but obviously better than the current pResident, who will be tossed aside once Congress “man’s up.” There are also more R’s in California than you think, along with NPP registered voters who are sick of the RINOS. Work to get real conservatives elected. The state legislature is filled with automatons who vote their party line. Time to publish over and over again the crap they are supporting. Work for election integrity. Fraud is a huge problem. People of faith need to VOTE their values. They have a poor participation record and that must change.

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