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Is Gov. Newsom Positioning Himself For A Presidential Run With New Campaign Ad?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom set off political fireworks with a new campaign ad. Not only is the ad only airing in Florida, but it debuted on Fox News.

Florida Republicans are calling it "a pathetic smear campaign," while other political experts argue it's a shrewd move.

"Freedom is under attack in your state," Newsom said in the ad.

The glossy new ad is fueling speculation about what the future has in store for 2024.

"Your 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," Newsom said.

The 30-second spot criticizes GOP lawmakers in Florida and takes aim at Gov. Ron Desantis, who's been rumored to be the Republican frontrunner for president.

"This is his way of showing everybody nationally this is the fight we need to wage to win," said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist.

Maviglio said the ad is a way for Newsom to position himself for a presidential run if Joe Biden doesn't seek re-election.

"He's investing $100k to get a million dollars worth of publicity. So, I think it's a very sound investment," he said.

But Tamika Hamilton, the Republican candidate for California's 6th Congressional District, disagreed by saying the ad is unlikely to sway independents or moderates.

"It's disingenuous of him to start running ads in Florida when we have so many problems in California that need to be fixed and that should be the center of his attention," Hamilton said.

Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, a Rocklin Republican mocked the spot on Twitter, saying: "Newsom is branding us 'the real freedom state of CA.' Keep in mind this is a state that bans plastic straws."

While the governor remains tight-lipped about any White House ambitions, the chatter is growing with many wondering if Newsom's actions speak louder than his words.

This new spot also comes on the heels of a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll that found, in a hypothetical matchup, Gov. Newsom would just beat former President Trump — 40 to 39 percent. His polling was also higher than Vice President Kamala Harris.

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