California Democrats see Harris and Newsom colliding on road to the White House

A week before Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom rejected a recall, Vice President Kamala Harris returned to California to get voters on his side. United in victory for now, the Democrats suspect Harris and Newsom will soon find themselves on a collision course.
The two California Democrats were formed by the "same political machine, the same political family," said Mike Madrid, a Republican politician from California, referring to the San Francisco-based team that helped them start their careers. A longtime Newsom adviser said that if the governor gains momentum with his victory, "they both might end up wanting the same thing, which is the White House."
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Gil Duran, a former assistant to Harris when she was California attorney general, said this could pose a challenge to the advisors who led both her 2020 presidential bid and Newsom's successful campaign against the dismissal. Rumors of the company-brokered back-room negotiations made the rounds when California Senator Barbara Boxer announced her resignation in 2015. The seat eventually went to Harris.
"The real question is, if Newsom comes out of this recall with a lot of force and tries to build a narrative for its own presidential election, you come to an intersection where Kamala and Newsom are," Duran said. "Which client do you choose?"
Whether Harris would turn to Bearstar Strategies for her next presidential run is an open question. The company is the latest iteration of the California Democrats' most powerful campaign shop, formerly known as SCN Strategies and later SCRB Strategies, known for securing victories on local and statewide tickets. Hillary Clinton's first victory in California over the then Senator. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign is credited to the company's founder, who also led her campaign in Texas and North Carolina.
The team was present with Newsom at the Harris rally in San Leandro, where the Vice President took pictures with former employees outside the press. This person said the moment was just for show.
"You are a persona non grata at Kamala," said a democratic strategist. "You are not welcome or are allowed to communicate with the Vice President in a meaningful way."
Photos circulated from the event showing the counselors and Harris talking and smiling, but he said it was not an accurate representation of the relationship. "That's not the reality," he said. "That was for Instagram."
Harris stepped on the stage in Oakland, California last week before some 200 supporters urged voters to reject the recall motion. President Joe Biden campaigned for Newsom the day before the election.
Much has changed since Harris launched her presidential candidacy in 2019 19 kilometers away in front of 20,000 people - not least in the first eight months in office.
Before teaming up with Biden, the Californians said they view Harris as risk averse
and pointed out their attitudes towards health care during the race. Her prosecutorial skills had previously been her selling point, showing up in confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions and Brett Kavanaugh or on the debate stage with Biden, but she tried to distance herself from her years as a prosecutor amid a national law enforcement and race reckoning.
Some blamed their advisors. The firm's clients took “politically cautious” positions on the national stage, said a Democrat from San Francisco.
"This is a trait Newsom and Kamala share, and it is a trait their advisors drive," this person argued, explaining that Newsom's landmark moves towards same-sex marriage or executions were groundbreaking but few.
It is the effect of being guided by a famous opposition researcher, the founder of Bearstar Strategies, Averill "Ace" Smith, who terrifies opponents simply by entering the room, the San Francisco Democrat said.
"His job is to find faults in people and to punish and ruin them for it," said this person. "He'll give you advice on tapping off any edges."
A Los Angeles agent said that as a black and South Asian woman, Harris faces levels of control and rejection that her counterpart avoids. "Because Gavin is, he can take more risks," he argued.
While Harris remains the heir to follow Biden in running a future Democratic ticket, be it in 2024 or beyond, sources in California politics wondered how she would advance her case for the top spot.
"It will be fascinating to see if Kamala can put together a coalition and campaign and finally build an apparatus that can win," said another California Democrat.
Your presidential election "burned very hot for a very short time," he added. "I don't know where you can correct that."
Newsom got what he wanted on Wednesday, a resounding victory that Biden said cemented his and the governor's mandates.
Political strategists credited Newsom's political power for bringing about an early coup by banning other prominent Democrats from the election.
This meant setting aside the "panic agitation" of concerned Democrats who wanted a viable candidate for the second option, Duran said. "They made Chicken Littles say, 'We have to have a Democrat on the ballot just in case,' and the Bearstar team very wisely said no."
Chris Lehman, a political advisor to NextGen Policy, an advocacy group founded by billionaire environmental activist and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer, said the race was over when the deadline for nominations expired and no credible Democrat came forward to resign To replace Newsom. "That's when I started popping my champagne corks as a Democrat," he said.
This “high risk, high reward” tactic, as one strategist put it, came into its own as Newsom's most prominent rival gained momentum.
After conservative radio host Larry Elder was ahead of other recall candidates, Newsom managed to turn the race from a referendum on his leadership into a head-to-head battle over the past 18 months, asking the question: Did California's deep blue voters want? a MAGA-leaning governor?
About a quarter of those who signed the petition for recall were registered Democrats, a feat that terrified party officials.
Frustrating voters was a willingness some saw in Newsom to break its own COVID-19 rules, even as Californians struggled under strict lockdowns.
According to a pre-election poll by the Los Angeles Times and the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, 56% of voters agreed with the statement that "Newsom, through its own actions, has demonstrated its strict policies and behavior" that it would like to that others follow during the pandemic does not apply to him. "
A video shared on Instagram by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California's “First Partner” and Newsom's wife, seemed to capture the essence of that complaint. Jennifer Siebel Newsom waved her finger at the camera and told the Californians to save water, turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth, and wait for the dishwasher to be full. But the audience spotted a second dishwasher, which undercut the water-saving message it demanded.
"[Newsom] in their house with two dishwashers says to the people who live in three families, with the homeless on the street, 'don't use your dishwasher,'" said a Democrat from Sacramento. "The subject was just, 'Wow, these people, they're so contactless.'"
Parents grew angry when they learned that Newsom's children were back in their private school classes while public schools remained closed.
"I think anyone [his advisors] would have thrown their body under the wheels of the governor's SUV to prevent him from going to the French laundry that evening," Duran said, pointing to the evening that was part of the recall effectively lit a match. While the three-walled outdoor setting Newsom was seen eating in followed the letters of the state's coronavirus rules, it disregarded the spirit for which the governor later apologized.
Newsom changed its strategy, advocating reopening schools and supporting businesses, a lynchpin that Joe Rodota, Arnold Schwarzenegger's political leader during his 2003 candidacy for California governor, said the challenge posed Countering Democrats is more difficult.
Newsom raised nationwide concerns about the coronavirus and announced its vaccine mandate for health and school workers. In a campaign ad, the governor argued that the race was "a matter of life and death" and targeted Elders "deadly conspiracies," which he said threatened school closings.
The downside of using Elder as a slide, one strategist said, is that Newsom's team "never really sold Gavin."
The Californians saw "the same thing we have seen since 2016," said this person - a referendum on MAGA politics. "If Democrats can only run against Trump, what are we for?"
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Tags: News, Biden Administration, Kamala Harris, White House, California, Gavin Newsom, Campaigns, 2024 Elections, Democratic Party, Larry Elder
Original Author: Katherine Doyle
Original location: California Democrats watch Harris and Newsom collide on the road to the White House
In this article:
Kamala Harris
49th and current Vice President of the United States
Gavin Newsom
California Governor
Joe Biden
46th and current President of the United States

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