Jul 26, 2022 - News

Gavin Newsom trolls Greg Abbott

Gavin Newsom grinning and Greg Abbott giving a thumbs up
Left: Gov. Gavin Newsom. Right: Gov. Greg Abbott. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Bob Levey/Getty Images

The governors of America's two most populous states are engaging in a passive-aggressive political battle that has the potential to spill into the 2024 presidential election.

Driving the news: California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently took out full-page ads in Texas newspapers criticizing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on gun laws and reproductive rights.

  • "If Texas can ban abortion and endanger lives, California can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives. If Governor Abbott truly wants to protect the right to life, we urge him to follow California's lead," one of the ads reads.

Context: Newsom recently signed a gun control bill modeled on Texas' abortion ban.

Why it matters: While Abbott's aspirations for national office are yet to be determined, Newsom's future presidential campaign seems inevitable — and he's staking out his territory by criticizing Texas policies that poll poorly even in the Lone Star State.

Catch up quick: For years, Abbott has courted California businesses and California residents by touting Texas' relatively low taxes, minimal regulations, and the state's conservative political leanings. Abbott campaigned with the slogan "Don't California my Texas!"

  • Earlier this month, Newsom ran ads in Florida — another red state with a governor who might be a future opponent in a presidential campaign — encouraging residents there to move to California.

By the numbers: Even before the pandemic, 50,000 Californians moved to Texas annually, often settling around Dallas.

  • Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the country and gained two congressional seats in the latest census, while California is growing slower than the national average and lost two districts.

What they're saying: "I think Democrats have been playing a little soft," Newsom told NBC last week.

  • "It's absolutely true that I'd much rather follow, 'When they go low, we go high,' but I also think we'd be completely missing the moment we're living in."

The bottom line: With both governors up for re-election this year and a wide-open presidential election in 2024, this battle has only just begun.

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