California Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden would face a tough contest in California, a delegate-rich state that will be hotly contested in the Democratic Party presidential primary in 2020.
Newsom told Politico in an interview on Thursday that while he admired Biden, praising him effusively, “he’s going to have to compete [in California] because there are obviously a lot of other candidates that excel in other ways.”
Among the other candidates Newsom mentioned were California’s own Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who he said had been “outperforming” other candidates, even though she has been lagging in the most recent opinion polls. Newsom also praised South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg as “many people’s second choice — if he’s not already a first.”
Biden wrapped up a two-day visit to California on Thursday with a fundraiser in Los Angeles, where he courted the support of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is being wooed by several candidates, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Buttigieg visited the state earlier in the week for a series of high-dollar fundraisers among Silicon Valley donors.
In 2016, California was closely contested between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who, interestingly, Newsom did not mention — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite running a strong insurgent campaign, featuring massive rallies across the state, Sanders fell short, effectively ending his hopes of seizing the party’s nomination.
In 2017, California moved its primary from June, when it has been held for decades, to March in the hope of playing a greater role in the selection of nominees. It will now be the biggest delegate prize on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Biden suggested earlier this week that the Democratic field would narrow rapidly after the first few contests. He leads polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — the first three states to vote — which gives him a significant edge. But Newsom’s comment suggests that Biden could face a longer contest in which California is a decisive battlefield.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.