California Gov. Gavin Newsom is "undeniably, unequivocally" planning to run for the Democratic nomination if President Joe Biden decides not to pursue a second term, two individuals with knowledge of Newsom's intentions told TheWrap.
"After this midterm election is over, he absolutely is going to announce that he is running for the presidency once Biden announces that he is not running," a leading California fundraiser with close connections to the Newsom family said. "No ifs, ands or buts. He will run if Biden does not."
In addition, a Los Angeles philanthropist with deep connections in the Democratic Party and a long history of fundraising for its candidates, confirmed Newsom's intention to run.
Biden told CBS News' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that it "remains to be seen" if his intention to run for a second term is "a firm decision."
Although Newsom has officially said he has "sub-zero interest" in running for president in 2024, his recent actions have already begun to create a much higher profile for himself beyond California and given hints at his true intentions, according to TheWrap.
For example, last week the governor launched billboard campaigns in Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Oklahoma criticizing abortion restrictions in those states and directing people to a website (Abortion.ca.gov) with information on how to get an abortion in California.
Newsom also issued a public debate challenge last week to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recent polls have indicated is the GOP's best bet to challenge Biden for the presidency in two years.
There have also been other indications that the California governor is preparing to boost his war chest for a national run.
CNBC reported that a Wall Street executive who raised money for Biden's 2020 campaign met with Newsom in recent weeks.
Newsom has also been speaking with political consultants with national election experience, TheWrap reported.
According to a UC-Berkeley Institute of Government poll last month, 61% of Californians don't want Biden to run for a second term, with Newsom and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders topping the list among Californians as the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee.
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