- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2022

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is considered a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, is pouring cash into the Florida governor’s race to stop a potential Republican rival. 

Mr. Newsom announced that he is sending $100,000 to Rep. Charlie Crist to help the fellow Democrat unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis in November. 

Mr. Crist won Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday and has pitched himself to voters and nationwide donors as the candidate who can stop Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, from a successful White House run in 2024 by defeating his 2022 reelection bid.

“Time to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor,” Mr. Newsom tweeted in an announcement declaring his $100,000 donation.

Mr. DeSantis is leading Mr. Crist in the polls by about 6 points and is the favorite to win the race due to his popularity and a shift in voter registrations toward the GOP.

There are now 200,000 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats in Florida. 

Mr. DeSantis is a popular governor and has raised his national profile by banning “woke” liberal policies from public schools as well as Biden administration lockdowns and mandates imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept the state’s economy strong. 

He polls far ahead of most potential 2024 GOP contenders but trails former President Donald Trump, who has hinted at but not announced a third bid for the White House.

Mr. Newsom recently survived a recall effort and is a possible 2024 replacement for President Biden, who some speculate will not seek a second term.

Mr. Newsom and Mr. DeSantis appear to be conducting a shadow presidential campaign against each other.

In response to Mr. Newsom’s donation to Mr. Crist, the DeSantis campaign posted a video montage of California’s homeless population and crime rampages. 

“Yesterday, Charlie Crist told Floridians he doesn’t want our votes,” the DeSantis rapid response team tweeted. “Today, Charlie Crist thanked the governor of the failed state of California for his money. Priorities!”

Mr. Crist, a day after winning the primary, told reporters he doesn’t want those who support Mr. DeSantis to vote for him.

Mr. Newsom, when asked by reporters why he is donating to the Crist campaign, answered, “I don’t like bullies.”

Mr. DeSantis, during a rally in central Florida this week, leveled harsh criticism on Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom he has battled over COVID vaccine mandates, early drug treatment access and lockdowns.

“Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac,” Mr. DeSantis said. 

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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