Vice President Kamala Harris will campaign with California Governor Gavin Newsom in the Bay Area on Wednesday, delivering on her promise to assist the embattled Democratic governor defeating a Republican-led effort to unseat him in a special election on September 14.
The former California senator will be the most high-profile surrogate for Newsom, who was targeted for recall by Republicans early last year, an effort that gained traction due to public outrage over his pandemic restrictions.
Newsom is campaigning in Los Angeles on Saturday with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in an attempt to energize Democratic voters, who, according to polling throughout the summer, were far less enthusiastic about returning their ballots than Republicans.
Adviser hope that the vice president will help to emphasize to progressive voters the importance of Newsom’s possible removal and replacement by a Republican, particularly how California could affect the Democratic majority in the 50-50 US Senate.
Newsom appointed Harris’ Democratic replacement in the Senate as governor, and he could be asked to do so again if he is forced to name a replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is 88 years old, could retire early if she so desired, though she has no plans to do so.
Newsom’s supporters believe Harris can highlight the California governor’s ability to advance women’s rights, particularly in light of Texas’ strict six-week abortion ban, as well as the progressive and minority voter agenda.
Following a chaotic few weeks that halted much of the momentum the White House had built in the early summer months to pass their fall agenda, Harris’ visit will be her first opportunity to test out a pre-midterm election message.
“In many ways, Biden’s successes somewhat hinges on having a willing partner in California,” a source familiar with planning told CNN.
“This period between now and the midterms is critical for the Biden administration — for their chances of holding control of Congress, but probably also the White House. In the nation’s most populous state, the White House knows it needs a strategic partner to close the unvaccinated gap, spend down hundreds of billions in the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan, among other priorities. A Republican governor would probably undermine many of those objectives,” the source added.
Last month, Harris was scheduled to campaign with Newsom, but she canceled her appearance after a terrorist attack in Afghanistan killed 13 US service members in the final days of the country’s withdrawal.
President Joe Biden also plans to campaign for Newsom, according to the White House, but the exact date has yet to be announced.