California Governor Gavin Newsom has been actively taking steps that suggest he might be considering a potential run for the presidency, despite repeatedly denying any interest in such a pursuit. With Joe Biden embroiled in controversy over his son’s foreign business dealings, it’s not crazy to speculate that Democrats would use Newsom as plan B.
Over the course of three months, Newsom has set up multiple committees, including a political action committee (PAC), a SuperPAC, and a joint fundraising committee, and has managed to raise and utilize millions of dollars.
Though not a confirmation, this is seen by political analysts as a typical first step towards a potential presidential run. Each of these Newsom-affiliated committees serves distinct functions.
SuperPACs are a type of independent political action committee in the United States that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions, individuals, and other groups to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.
Unlike traditional political action committees (PACs), SuperPACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates or coordinating directly with campaigns or political parties. Instead, they must operate independently and can fund advertisements, mailings, and other forms of communication that support or oppose a candidate or issue.
The PAC, for instance, limits contributions to $5,000 per year and has the capacity to make donations to individual candidates. On the other hand, the SuperPAC can collect unlimited amounts of funds but is prohibited from promoting a specific candidate.
According to Brendan Glavin, senior data analyst at Open Secrets, “For someone who has an interest in launching a presidential campaign, these are the first steps you’d take,” Glavin said. “I wouldn’t say it’s set in stone, but certainly you wouldn’t do all of these things if you weren’t thinking about it.”
Newsom has repeatedly stated that he would “never, ever, ever run for president.” However, political analysts believe that the funds raised would be available to him if he changes his mind. With no Democratic incumbent in 2028 and Newsom’s strong position as the governor of the nation’s largest state, he would be well-positioned for a White House run.
Since launching the organization in late March, Newsom has campaigned to rebut the GOP agenda and energize pockets of often neglected Democratic voters. Through fundraising emails and events, he has promoted his own agenda by calling for stricter gun control laws, greater access to abortion and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community.
He’s made at least two cross-country trips, visiting with party leaders and organizers in states such as Arkansas and Mississippi and hosting fundraising events in Idaho and Oregon.
In early April, Newsom met with students of New College of Florida, the small liberal arts school that became a culture war flashpoint under presidential contender and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Republican governor placed six conservative allies on the college’s board of directors — a move that Newsom said exhibited the Republican governor’s “zest for demonization.”
Newsom also participated in a two-part interview last month with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity where he accused Fox News of airing a “doom loop about California” and defended Biden’s reelection bid.
Most of the spending was done by the Campaign for Democracy PAC. There’s a lengthy list of hotel and travel expenses, as Newsom visited Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and other Southern states earlier this year to promote Democrats.
According to experts, forming these committees allows prospective candidates like Newsom to begin building a base of support and explore a run for federal office without stating it outright. This strategy is not unique to Newsom and has been used by other major political figures.
While Newsom continues to deny any interest in running for president, his fundraising strategy and political activities signal a potential aspiration for the White House. Whether or not he will pursue this path remains to be seen, but his actions have certainly ignited speculation and interest in his future political ambitions.
It may be beneficial to keep an eye on the Joe and Hunter Biden investigation.