Newsom hitting South Carolina, Nevada to stump for Biden

“It’s about honing in on the message that is not in the aggregate, but actually connects in a rational way with their lived experiences,” Newsom said.

The Democratic governor has long been dismissive of Donald Trump’s Republican challengers and said he’s relieved and even pleased the GOP primary appears to be coming to a swift end so that the Biden campaign and Democrats can focus on the former president.

“Trump will do one thing. It’s an extraordinary thing. And that is he’ll unite the base of the Democratic Party in opposition to his candidacy,” he said. “The No. 1 imperative of a Biden re-election is to consolidate our party and our voters. And No. 2, is to build that contrast [and] to highlight that Biden’s policies are extraordinarily popular.”

Biden promoted South Carolina in the early state calendar, rewarding a place that revived his 2020 presidential prospects and put him on a glidepath to the nomination. He returned earlier this month to Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and Vice President Kamala Harris has made regular visits, as the campaign works to consolidate Black voters.

In South Carolina, Newsom plans to appear at events for the South Carolina Democratic Party’s “We Go First” statewide tour on behalf of the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign. Newsom will speak in a town hall with state Sen. Margie Bright-Matthews in the Sun City retirement community. He then goes to Calhoun County for a get-out-the-vote rally with local Democrats and community members and before meeting with Morris College HBCU students.

At his stop Friday in Las Vegas, Newsom will appear with volunteers and encourage people to vote in the state, which has a growing Hispanic population.

Early voting there is set to begin Jan. 27 and run through Feb. 2. This week, Republican Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo of Nevada said he’s backing Trump, giving the former president a clean sweep of endorsements from four governors in the GOP early states.

Newsom has spent months preparing for the upcoming road trip, sitting for a flurry of interviews, headlining high-dollar events in California and sending out email and text solicitations that have raised millions of dollars for the president’s reelection.

The governor has also clashed with figures on the right, sparring in primetime with Fox News’ conservative host Sean Hannity and then standing in for a Hannity moderated debate opposite Florida Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis in late November.

Biden’s team has routinely dispatched top surrogates to Republican debates and dropped them into early voting states. Last week — ahead of Donald Trump’s blowout showing in the Iowa caucuses where DeSantis narrowly held off Nikki Haley to place a distant second — the Biden campaign sent Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois, Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota and reelection co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood mogul, to appear on behalf of Democrats.

On Friday night, Newsom will return to HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” another venue that regularly challenges Democratic dogma. Newsom used to be a regular on Maher’s programs, sometimes appearing twice in one season. The comedian has been courting Newsom to return to the show, and the governor relented, seeing it as an opportunity to help the White House. Newsom had kind words for Maher — a polarizing figure in some quarters.

“I’m in many ways talking to you because of him,” Newsom said. “He had my back when I was mayor, as lieutenant governor, when no one could care less about my point of view, and he platformed that point of view over and over and over and over again,” he said.

“You should go back and watch when he and I were talking about the prospects of Trump being a serious candidate and people were laughing on the panel,” he added, steering the conversation to the threat Trump poses. “I wasn’t disagreeing with Bill back then.”


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