Gov. Gavin Newsom bought 30 seconds of ad time in Florida over the holiday weekend to criticize the state's restrictive laws on a myriad of issues.
"Freedom, it's under attack in your state," Newsom said in the ad. "Your Republican leaders, they're banning books. They're making it harder to vote — restricting speech in classrooms, criminalizing women and doctors."
In his commercial, Newsom referred to Florida's restrictive laws on abortion, voting as well as other newly passed bills that limit school teachers from discussing sexual orientation, gender and critical race theory. While Newsom is up for re-election, some were perplexed about why the California governor decided to air an ad in a state on the other side of the country.
"I think Gov. Newsom is doing what he loves to do, which is be part of the national conversation," said Loyola Law Professor and political analyst Jessica Levinson. "He also loves to talk about how California is different from other states. We've heard this from before: 'California is a place where your rights are protected.'"
The commercial drew criticism from the spokesperson of Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is reportedly considering a presidential run.
"#1 U-Haul Salesman of 2021 increasingly desperate to communicate with Californians who fled his left-lib dystopia for Florida. Sorry, you aren't getting those U-Hauls back," Christina Pushaw tweeted.
Before the ad aired, Republican Party of Florida Executive Director Helen Aguirre Ferré tweeted:
"This is hilarious! Under Newsom, California has the highest homeless rate, poverty rate and energy costs. What could Gavin Newsom possibly brag about in Florida?"
None of the statements in her tweet, which were first reported by the Miami Herald, were true. Florida's poverty rate is higher than California and while there is a homeless crisis in the Golden State, New York state's homeless rate is the worst.
"I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight," Newsom said in the ad. "Or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom to hate, the freedom to love."
Based in California, political consultant Matt Rexroad often advises Republicans and offered his speculation on why Newsom bought this ad time.
"If you're running for President of the United States, it's a great plan, right?" he said. "Improve your name outside of the state of California. But the reason it stands out to me is he recently told one of your colleagues in the press he wasn't planning on running for president at all. In fact, he said less than zero interest. So, that doesn't seem to be the case."
Levinson said that the ad garnered more money than what the ad cost.
"It made business sense as well as monetary sense," she said.
CBSLA reached out to the Newsom campaign but had not heard back by the time that Newsom's office sent an email to his followers. The lengthy email said, "we cannot allow Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party to own the word "freedom" in the political debate."
"The DeSantis vision of freedom is a fraud. It's a vision where people were free to get COVID and give it to whoever they want; it's a vision where people are free to carry guns everywhere and everyone has to live in fear of getting shot; it's a vision where the wealthy and powerful have the freedom to dictate their terms to everyone else.
So no, we are not going to let them own the word freedom going forward. We're taking it back," the email continued, after noting that true freedom is "being able to love the person you love without fear of discrimination" and "a woman and her doctor making the healthcare decisions she needs." The lengthy list also calls on recently banned books, the cost of survival and gun control legislation in Florida.
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