The new Democratic governor in the nation's most populous state ruled out a challenge to President Donald Trump on Thursday, calling the idea "crazy."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has had frequent Twitter wars with the Republican president and recently raised speculation that he might seek the presidency by running Facebook ads in Florida, Ohio and other battleground states opposing Trump's southern border wall and supporting universal health care.
But he emphatically denied that he's considering a run for president.
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"God no," he responded to a reporter's question. "No, no — no, that's crazy."
The governor's political consultant, Dan Newman, called the speculation "absolute nothingburger."
"We've had same approach for years, running ads to mobilize and organize supporters," Newman said in an email. He said Newsom understood early on the importance of building a strong online following, including with digital ads that allow people to support his positions.
Most of the ads run in California, he said, but some ran in other states that happen to be considered swing states. The ads ask viewers to "sign up" and "add your name" to Newsom's calls to "Reject Trump's Wall" and "Join the fight for universal health care."
Newsom, who took office earlier this month, hinted that he's likely to endorse U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who joined a crowded field of Trump challengers on Monday.
Newsom expressed "enormous respect" for Harris and said they have been friends since before either held elected office. He was San Francisco's mayor and she was San Francisco's district attorney for six years before she became the state's attorney general and he the lieutenant governor.
He said he is not yet ready to make an endorsement, but said his praise for Harris "gives you a sense of where I may be going."