California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has built a massive digital operation, including large databases of donors and supporters, despite denying that he has presidential ambitions in 2024.
Politico notes that Newsom has used last year’s recall election, in which he defeated an attempt to unseat him, to create a fundraising juggernaut and build a list of emails and addresses unusual for a state official:
Newsom has raised $113 million since fighting the recall attempt, including about $20 million through the digital operation. Those are considerable sums for a state official. And they underscore that Newsom has been able to build what few others in the party can lay claim to: a major digital apparatus allowing him to play in 2022 despite mostly staying off the trail until late.
Newsom’s online footprint grew considerably in the last year and change. It’s been spearheaded by Tim Tagaris, one of the party’s foremost digital operatives who stood up Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) pioneering fundraising operations in 2016. Newsom boasts an email list of more than 6 million names, up from 250,000 when Tagaris started ahead of the recall.
Newsom is largely ignoring his own reelection campaign, which he is expected to win despite his thin record, thanks to the massive advantage Democrats have in California after a decade-long exodus by homeowners and small business owners, the Republican base.
He has focused on attacking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), even running ads in the Sunshine State, as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), and others. This week, Newsom will travel to New Mexico to campaign for embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who is facing a strong challenge from Republican Mark Ronchetti.
Earlier this year, Newsom visited the White House while President Joe Biden was away, amid speculation that Biden might not run for reelection in 2024, given concerns about his age. But Newsom said publicly in a debate with his challenger, State Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), that he would not run for president in 2024.