For months now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have been waging a war of words. On Thursday, Newsom put some cash behind the rhetoric, pledging $100,000 to the campaign of DeSantis’ Democratic gubernatorial opponent.
The California Democrat urged others to follow his lead and contribute to Rep. Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor who is looking to unseat DeSantis.
“Time to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor. I’m pledging $100k right now to @CharlieCrist. Who will join me in helping Charlie become the next Governor of Florida?” Newsom tweeted Thursday morning.
The money is coming from Newsom’s campaign account, according to campaign spokesman Nathan Click.
Both Newsom and DeSantis are widely viewed as future presidential contenders. And both seem committed to getting under each other’s skin.
In July, Newsom’s re-election campaign ran a 30-second ad on TV stations in Florida, slamming DeSantis and saying freedom “is under attack in your state.”
“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love,” Newsom said in the spot.
DeSantis spent several minutes at a press conference slamming Newsom and California.
“I can just tell you this, I was born and raised in this state, and until the last few years I rarely if ever saw a California license plate in the state of Florida. You now see a lot of them. I can tell you if you go to California you ain’t seeing very many Florida license plates,” DeSantis said.
Newsom told The Bee that his reason for going after DeSantis with an ad was that Florida’s governor had threatened to fine the Special Olympics over its COVID-19 vaccination policy before the 2022 USA games in Orlando.
“He did something that tipped me very directly, and that was going after the Special Olympics. I had an emotional response to that,” Newsom said. “That led to the consideration of doing something a little bit more expressive and that was the determination on the ad.”
Crist’s campaign didn’t confirm they were told about the pledge beforehand.
“It’s a clear sign of the national enthusiasm for defeating Ron DeSantis,” said Austin Durrer, Crist’s Campaign Manager.
For context, Crist’s largest donation to date was $500,000 from the American Federation of Teachers earlier this month, ahead of the Aug. 23 primary.
The Miami Herald’s Bianca Padró Ocasio contributed to this story.
This story was originally published August 25, 2022 1:56 PM.