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California Gov. Gavin Newsom may be the Democratic Party’s strongest choice to run for president if President Joe Biden bows out, longtime party strategist David Axelrod says.
Axelrod, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief strategist, made the comments in a Wednesday statement to The New York Times. The 2024 presidential race has been a burning question for Democrats, with no clear heir to Biden and many party members skeptical of whether the president could or should run for a second term.
“If the president were not to run, it’s hard to imagine that Newsom would not be sorely tempted to enter the race,” Axelrod said Wednesday.
“Newsom is young and politically muscular, which may be just what the market will be seeking post-Biden,” he added.
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Rumblings of Newsom’s prospects come as Democrats are increasingly abandoning hopes that Biden could run in 2024.
“Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race. That can’t be Biden,” lawyer and Democratic National Committee member Shelia Huggins told NYT last week.
“I need an equivalent of Ron DeSantisa Democrat, but not a 70- or 80-year-old – a younger person,” Alex Wyshyvanuk, a 33-year-old data analyst from Annapolis, Maryland, told NYT. “Someone who knows what worked for you in 1980 is not going to work for you in 2022 or 2024.”
DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is 43 years old. Newsom is 54.
Biden’s poll numbers echo the loss of confidence from his party, with his administration’s approval ratings consistently hitting new lows over the past 12 months.
Some stars within the Democratic Party are already appearing to break with Biden ahead of the midterms and 2024. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, refused to say if she would vote for the president in 2024 in a recent appearance on CNN.
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“You know, I think we should endorse when we get to it,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN host Dana Bash. “I believe that the president has been doing a very good job so far. And, you know, should he run again? I think that I… you know, I think it’s … we’ll take a look at it.”