Campaign: Newsom in South Carolina, Nevada for Biden-Harris

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In a strategic move, Governor Gavin Newsom is embarking on a national campaign trail for President Joe Biden’s reelection, venturing beyond California as the Democratic presidential primaries kick off. Despite Biden facing no prominent challengers, Newsom’s decision to step onto the national stage is met with both support and criticism, particularly as California grapples with pressing state issues.

Newsom’s first destination is South Carolina, a pivotal battleground state that played a crucial role in former President Donald Trump’s victory in 2020. The California Governor, an ardent supporter of the Biden-Harris administration, will headline three public events as part of the South Carolina Democratic Party’s “We Go First” statewide tour. The tour aims to bolster support for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, featuring a town hall in Sun City, a get-out-the-vote rally in Calhoun County, and a meeting with students at Morris College, a historically black college.

Following his engagements in South Carolina, Newsom will shift his focus to Nevada, where early voting for the primary is on the horizon. His presence is anticipated in Las Vegas, where he will join volunteers to encourage participation in the upcoming February primary.

Governor Newsom’s decision to actively support Biden’s campaign underscores his commitment to maintaining a national profile. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson notes, “Gov. Newsom is making a concerted effort to keep a national profile, and being a key Biden surrogate is part of maintaining that national profile.”

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However, this move has not escaped criticism, particularly from Republican state lawmakers. They argue that Newsom should prioritize addressing the challenges within California, notably the impending legislative review of his proposed state spending plan. Lawmakers are tasked with navigating a significant budget gap of at least $39 billion this year.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, a Republican from Yuba City, voiced concerns, stating, “I just wish the governor would focus on the problems in our own state. Do you want to be governor of California, or are you campaigning for president? I don’t think Biden needs his help in South Carolina in the primaries. He is the only person running.”

As Newsom embarks on his national tour, his absence during a critical time for California’s budgetary decisions raises eyebrows. However, proponents argue that his engagement in national politics aligns with broader strategies to position California at the forefront of Democratic initiatives and maintain the state’s influence on the national stage.

The governor’s return to California next week will mark the conclusion of his foray into national campaigning. As the political landscape unfolds, Newsom’s dual commitment to addressing statewide challenges and contributing to the broader Democratic narrative will shape perceptions of his leadership and political aspirations on both local and national fronts.

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