Vice President Kamala Harris will campaign with California Governor Gavin Newsom in the Bay Area on Wednesday, delivering on her commitment to assist the embattled Democratic governor in 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 to appear with Newsom, who was targeted for recall by Republicans early last year, an effort that gained steam because of anger among many Californians about his pandemic restrictions.
On Saturday, Newsom will campaign in Los Angeles with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as they attempt to activate Democratic voters, who had been much less enthusiastic about returning their ballots than Republicans, according to polling throughout the summer.
Advisers hope that the vice president would help to reinforce the progressive voters that Newsom’s possible removal and replacement by a Republican could affect the Democratic majority in the 50-50 US Senate.
As governor, Newsom appointed Harris’ Democratic Senate replacement, and he could be required to do so again if he needs to name a replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 88 if she decides to retire early — though she has no intentions to do so.
Newsom’s supporters believe Harris can highlight the California governor’s power to expand women’s rights, particularly in light of Texas’ strict six-week abortion restriction, as well as the agenda of progressive voters and voters of color.
Following a chaotic few weeks that interrupted most 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 success somewhat hinges on having a willing partner in California,” a source familiar with the 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 set to campaign alongside Newsom, but she canceled her rally after a terrorist attack in Afghanistan killed 13 US service members in the final days of the US withdrawal from the country.
President Joe Biden also plans to campaign for Newsom, according to the White House, but the timing of that event has not been formally announced.