California Governor Gavin Newsom weighed in on the presidential prospects of his Florida counterpart and frequent foe, Ron DeSantis, while declaring the race for the Republican nomination all but over.
“DeSantis is toast,” Newsom said today at an event in Orange County. “That’s self evident. I don’t think he’s even spending much time in New Hampshire, given up on that. I don’t know what state he can win in a primary, so that’s for certain.”
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DeSantis placed a distant second in the Iowa caucuses to Donald Trump this week, but he is far behind in the polls in New Hampshire, which has its primary on Tuesday, and instead has been concentrating more on South Carolina, which has its primary on Feb. 24.
Even though Newsom isn’t running for president this cycle, he’s been engaged in a long rivalry with DeSantis. Fox News’ Sean Hannity hosted a debate between the two governors in November, when DeSantis relished Florida’s net population gains and California’s loss.
But then and now, Newsom has been needling DeSantis over his faltering campaign. DeSantis’ super PAC, Never Back Down, laid off staff this week. According to AdImpact, neither his campaign nor his PACs has run broadcast ads since Monday, nor do they have reservations for spots in New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada.
“It’s Trump’s to lose,” Newsom said. “Time to recognize that and look forward. The Biden administration has already understood this. The rest of us should get on with it and clarify the choice and the consequences of a second Trump term.”
Newsom said that if Trump wins New Hampshire on Tuesday, “it’s done. But regardless of what even happens on Tuesday, in New Hampshire, this race is over. Donald Trump is going to be the nominee yet again and we’ve got our work cut out for us as Democrats.”
Newsom will be a guest on Friday on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. DeSantis was a guest on the show in September.
Newsom’s appearance in Orange County was to address the homelessness crisis and a state program to turn former office space and hotels into housing.
DeSantis appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show today and, asked to cite what errors he made, he mentioned his decision to stick to right-ward and friendly media outlets at the start of his campaign. “I should have just been blanketing,” he said. “I should have been on all the corporate shows. I should have gone on everything. I started doing that as we got into the end of the summer, and we did it, but we had an opportunity to come out of the gate and do that and reach a much broader folk.”
“Now I’m everywhere,” he adding, that he committed to the New Hampshire debate that was to held this evening. “I am the only one that is not, at this point, running a basement campaign. Biden is running a basement campaign. Trump won’t debate, won’t take questions from voters. And now Haley won’t debate and won’t take questions from voters.”
ABC News’ plans for a debate tonight were canceled after Haley said that she would only do another debate is Trump participated. Trump has refused to do any this cycle. She is participating in a town hall this evening on CNN, which announced its event the day after ABC dropped its plans.
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