Newsom’s first recall ad highlights cash payments for Californians
With both summer looming and a recall election date looming, Governor Gavin Newsom wants to make sure Californians are aware of the cash and prize money he is handing out.
“Newsom brings you money in your pocket,” said a narrator of a video of a smiling family gathered on a couch in a campaign ad posted on Thursday, his first call back. It refers to $ 1,100 in one-time cash payments that he proposed in his state budget.
The spot is one of three now televised nationwide, though the other two are negative and paint a dark picture of the Republicans behind the effort. Her release follows two weeks as Newsom tours the state to host a game show and shows up at theme parks to award millions of dollars in prizes for vaccinations and to celebrate the end of most pandemic-related restrictions.
The festive atmosphere reflects Newsom’s growing confidence in its ability to hold off a recall. But some Republicans accuse him of improperly using taxpayers’ money to build his reputation and ignoring the state’s troubles in favor of high-profile events.
“It certainly looks like Governor Newsom decided in the past few days to join the recall circus mentality,” said former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who is running for the recall, at one point Twitter video. “This recall is really about rolling up our sleeves and fixing our great condition.”
But the events demonstrated the advantage Newsom has over its rivals in its ability to generate headlines and get free media.
“I think it’s wise to break beyond conventional political news,” said Rob Stutzman, who served as spokesman for former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had a penchant for headline-grabbing appearances.
“It won’t go down well with everyone, but by and large that would probably be wise of them,” he added.
Amateur Republican political organizers launched the recall last year, and Newsom’s missteps helped garner enough signatures to vote. Final certification is required before a date can be set, but that could be done within weeks and potentially allow for an election in September.
Many of Newsom’s allies believe that an earlier choice is better, before a natural disaster strikes or greatly decreased virus cases rise unexpectedly.
The start of TV spots for Newsom and some of its Republican competitors signals a new phase in the campaign that will turn into a sprint once an election date is on the calendar.
Newsom’s positive ad focuses on major spending initiatives in his proposed state budget, which he has to sign by the end of the month. That includes up to $ 1,100 in cash payments to low-income and middle-class people, $ 4 billion in small business aid, and free preschool for all children.
Its other ads, one in English and one in Spanish, attempt to link the recall to extremist Republicans by showing pictures of people storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, referring to comments by the main proponent of the recall about the Immigrant microchipping. That organizer, Orrin Heatlie, later said the comment on Facebook was excessive and unsupported.
Sonja Diaz, founding director of the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Newsom’s positive ad presented messages that will resonate with families and young people hard hit by the pandemic by providing it the cash highlights for business and an extension of the preschool.
“This is something that I think is really aimed at talking to the policy decisions that will help younger Californians,” she said.
Meanwhile, Faulconer ran its first campaign ad on Monday, also in Spanish. It puts Newsom in a negative light, highlighting the closure of most schools during the pandemic, the state’s efforts to curb homelessness and the expansion of good behavior credits that could result in the early release of tens of thousands of people in prison.
When a heatwave hit the state, John Cox, another Republican candidate, said Newsom wasn’t focusing on the right issues. The state’s independent system operator called for nature conservation on Thursday, but said power outages were unlikely.
“While Gavin Newsom visits theme parks and appears on talk shows to distribute taxpayers’ money, California faces an impending energy crisis,” Cox tweeted.
However, Newsom’s week was not a typical politician’s week. He drew 10 winners of $ 1.5 million in prize money, danced with cartoon characters, and hopped on a roller coaster – with television cameras running.
“I think he’s having fun, I think he’s a little more relaxed about the recall,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, professor of public policy communication at the University of Southern California.
But, she said, the image of the governor as a game show host might seem too tricky for some people. Still, the majority of people are probably more interested in what his actions mean to them than how he presents them.
“It sounded a lot like bribery to me, but I’m not your average voter,” she said, referring to Newsom’s television commercial. She added, “When was the last time you saw someone, especially someone who is injured, turn down free money?”
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