Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is using his upcoming debate with Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to raise money, according to Meta’s advertisement dashboard.

Newsom has been running advertisements on Facebook and Instagram prompting users to donate to his federal PAC, Campaign for Democracy, or to sign up for the PACs mailing list, according to the dashboard. The ads, which have reached hundreds of thousands of social media users, attack Ron DeSantis for his stances on abortion, voting rights and LGBTQ issues.

“Several months ago, back when people thought Ron DeSantis had a chance to win the Republican nomination for president, I challenged him to a debate,” one ad, featuring a link to donate to Campaign for Democracy, reads. In some of his ads, Newsom casts himself as “pro-freedom” in contrast to DeSantis.

“I challenged Ron to a debate because he is a total fraud—and the world needs to see it,” another ad reads. “He talks about freedom a lot, but he is one of the most anti-freedom governors in the most anti-freedom political party in the country.”

Newsom spent $117,368 on Facebook and Instagram advertisements between Oct. 29 and Nov. 27, the bulk of which touted his upcoming debate with DeSantis, according to Meta.

Since Campaign for Democracy is a federal PAC, funds raised through it could be used by Newsom for a potential presidential run in 2024 or 2028. The PAC has raised $8.7 million this year, according to the Federal Election Commission.

This isn’t the first time Newsom has used DeSantis in his advertisements.

Campaign for Democracy ran a TV ad earlier this month hitting DeSantis on Florida’s abortion law, which prohibitsabortion after a fetus’ heartbeat is generally detectable. The ad, which cost Newsom’s PAC $185,000 to run, played alongside Sunday football games and accused DeSantis of being anti-freedom.

DeSantis and Newsom are set to square off Thursday night in Alpharetta, Georgia, with Fox News’ Sean Hannity moderating the debate.

“The next debate will be the biggest one yet,” James Uthmeier, DeSantis’ campaign manager, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“As Democrats ramp up their efforts to replace the historically unpopular and failed Joe Biden as their nominee, Ron DeSantis’ showdown with Gavin Newsom is even more timely,” Uthmeier continued. “A Newsom presidency would accelerate America’s decline, and November 30th will be the first chance to expose to a national audience just how dangerous his radical ideology would be for the country.”

Campaign for Democracy did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Robert Schmad on November 30, 2023

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