California has long been considered a red state but Gov.
Gavin Newsom is a favorite among many Republicans to win a second term.
That’s because he’s backed by a powerful business lobby and won a majority of his party’s voters in 2010, when he became the first Democrat to win statewide office in nearly 40 years.
Newsom has been working to distance himself from his former boss in recent months, telling an interviewer this month that he didn’t know of any plans to run for the governorship, and that he would be focusing his time on the state’s economic recovery.
“I’m going to be focusing on the economy, and I think that’s what I want to do,” he said.
Newsome has been talking about running for governor for months.
He’s been one of the most visible Republicans in Washington, including at the White House, and he’s spent months courting Democrats.
In recent weeks, Newsom’s aides have been pushing to convince donors to back him over Newsom, who’s largely left the governor’s office after a string of missteps and controversies.
But even as he has been making inroads with California’s wealthy, his image has been under attack in the state, with critics accusing him of taking money from powerful interests while ignoring their concerns about his work for a large union.
California Republicans, meanwhile, are trying to build on their support for Newsom by nominating former GOP Rep. Tom McClintock to be the next governor.
McClintocks approval rating is hovering at around 30 percent, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.
Newsman is expected to be confirmed by the Senate.
He was also one of several Republicans to endorse Trump in the 2016 campaign.
The president and his allies have been trying to distance themselves from Newsom since he took office, and they are targeting Newsom in an effort to make sure he’s not in the running again.
“If I don’t win, you’ll see a lot of other Republicans take the gloves off and take a shot at him,” said Tom Loeffler, a former Newsom campaign adviser who was fired in January for a report that alleged the governor and his staff took bribes from unions in exchange for helping to pass a state tax cut package.
Newsy said he’s confident that Republicans will do the same, pointing to a poll showing that 63 percent of Democrats support a GOP candidate to replace Newsom.
“This is a state where I think there are a lot more Republicans than Democrats, and there are also a lot fewer Democrats than Republicans.
And that’s why this is so important,” he told NBC News.
“We’ve been running a very good campaign.
And it’s not going to go away.
There are going to continue to be Republicans who will say, ‘Well, he’s just doing this for political reasons.’
That’s not true.
We’ve got to win.”