AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is running full-page advertisements in Texas newspapers Friday, targeting Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s policies related to abortion and gun control.
The ads, first reported by NBC News, will run in the Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle and El Paso Times. The spread modifies a quote from Abbott when he signed the state’s restrictive abortion law — Senate Bill 8 — crossing out select words to draw attention to Texas’ gun laws.
Abbott’s original quote reads “Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet, children lose their right to live every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives.”
Newsom’s ad crosses out the words “abortion” and “Texas” to replace with “gun violence” and “California” reading in full — “Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet, children lose their right to live every year because of gun violence. In California, we work to save those lives.”
In an emailed statement, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said “Governor Newsom should focus on all the jobs and businesses that are leaving California and coming to Texas.”
The ad goes on to highlight California’s copycat bill of Texas’ SB8 — which allows private citizens to sue providers or anyone who aids and abets in an abortion after six weeks. California’s law allows its citizens to sue “irresponsible gunmakers” for any harm caused by their products.
“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,” the ad reads.
This move is not the first time Newsom has tried to capture the national spotlight by targeting GOP leaders in other states. The Democratic governor went after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in TV ads earlier this month, drawing contrast between the two states and calling on Floridians to ‘come join us’ in California.
Research director at the Texas Politics Project, Josh Blank, said that Governor Newsom’s actions could be an attempt to sway Texas voters, in case he decided to run in 2024.
“It raises his profile, whether he’s running for president or even just his own political capital in his own home state, trying to fundraise for his reelection, ” Blank said.
Blank said Newsom’s ads also might be a defensive move for Democrats nationwide, who are largely seen as at-risk for losing seats during the 2022 midterm elections this November.
“I think Newsom is also filling a vacuum that a lot of Democrats feel need filling right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of discussion right now about why there isn’t a stronger push back from Democrats on abortion rights on gun control.”
KXAN reached out to Newsom’s team for further comment and did not hear back.