On July 22, 2022, Gavin Newsom’s Presidential Election odds opened on PredictIt. He was listed at eight cents and has hovered around 8 to 10 cents ever since. The presidential odds are still dominated by Donald Trump’s odds, followed by Ron DeSantis’s odds and Joe Biden’s odds. Newsom’s insistence that he has no interest in a 2024 Presidential Election bid reinforces that status quo.
It’s hard to ignore Newsom’s presidential potential, though. As Governor of California, he oversees the fifth largest economy in the world. If he could run on a strong economy, he could use economic successes in California to peel fiscal conservatives away from his Republican opponent in key areas.
However, he would also have California’s liberal reputation working against him. As long as liberal is a dirty word with swing voters, Newsom is at a disadvantage. (In that light, it’s no wonder he’s concerned about Democrats’ messaging problem.) That hasn’t stopped Newsom’s presidential odds from getting on the board, though.
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How Gavin Newsom is Developing a National Brand
Despite his professed disinterest in a 2024 presidential run, Gavin Newsom’s recent slew of lawsuits challenging conservative victories continues to build his national brand. National name recognition is a crucial ingredient in a presidential run.
Lyndon Johnson focused on building that name recognition on his first Senate committee where he focused on feeding journalists headline-producing language rather than substantive reports. But phrases like “a national rubber Pearl Harbor” drew favorable attention to LBJ’s committee work, even though he accomplished far less than his dramatic prose implied. (The need to reactivate synthetic rubber plants during the Korean War was not the impending disaster LBJ’s report implied.)
Newsom is making his own headlines through lawsuits that mirror conservative legal tactics. After Texas wrote its law allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers, Newsom signed a bill allowing private citizens to sue gun manufacturers for shootings manufacturers’ guns are used in.
The resulting legal showdown will likely end this law. However, it could also dismantle Texas’ abortion law, because it’s founded on the same logic. Like the anti-abortion southern states, Newsom crafted a law specifically to be sent to the Supreme Court. In doing so, he has created an opportunity to receive national attention and position himself as a protector of abortion rights and an effective gun-control advocate.
The reputation he builds out of this case will depend on the case’s outcome. But this case is a potential pivot point that could spark a sudden interest in a 2024 presidential run.
Gavin Newsom Presidential Odds Comparisons
Besides Governor Newsom, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg are the only two other Democrats with presidential odds on the board.
Since Kamala Harris is the Vice President, she could rise to the Presidency if Biden died in office or stepped down. She would serve the remainder of his term and could run for re-election. If she had more than two years left, she could only be eligible for one more term. If she had less than two years left, she would be eligible for two terms.
(Harris would choose her Vice President. The Speaker of the House doesn’t automatically assume the presidency unless neither the President nor the Vice President can.)
Pete Buttigieg made a national name for himself during the 2020 presidential race. He was one of several Democratic candidates who beat Trump in polls taken during the Democratic primary. His was a dramatic rise from South Bend’s mayor to presidential contender. Though he was never the frontrunner, his rise to Secretary of Transportation in Biden’s administration shows remarkable career growth. His calm intellectual demeanor became distinctive during his campaign, giving him a unique identity that could grow into a future presidential bid.
All three Democratic contenders price around eight to ten cents while Biden remains in the low 20s. Trump and DeSantis remain priced in the mid-20s. So, the three-way race for the White House is still between two rival Republicans and one viable Democrat. No one has risen in the Democratic Party to challenge Biden.