Gov. Gavin Newsom is launching his first TV ads of the election cycle in California — and he isn’t asking voters to support his campaign.

Instead, the California Democrat is spending $2.5 million over the next two weeks to implore Californians to back Proposition 1, a measure on the fall ballot that would enshrine the right to abortion and contraceptives in the state constitution.

The ads are a clear signal that Newsom — like virtually everyone else in the state and nation — is aware his own reelection is a near certainty in November. But they also illustrate the unorthodox maneuvers he has adopted in recent months.

The governor paid for out-of-state TV ads and billboards as part of his attempts to bracket and shame his Republican counterparts in Florida and Texas. And he signed a sweeping wishlist of liberal priorities in his state and wants lawmakers to return before year’s end for a special session to consider windfall taxes on oil companies.

After beating back last year’s recall attempt, he’s sitting on more than $23 million to spend on Democratic candidates and causes. That windfall, along with his attacks on Republicans outside his state and his attempts to position California as a post-Roe haven for reproductive freedom, has led to speculation about his political ambitions.

While California’s abortion measure is leading in public polls, Newsom contends the ad money was necessary. He pointed to concerns among some Democrats and pundits that voter enthusiasm following the high court’s Dobbs decision may already be waning and that he doesn’t want the party’s voters to leave anything to chance.

“The better we do on this, the more intensity, the more we dial it up, I also think it sends a message that reverberates across our borders,” Newsom said. “If a significant majority come out and vote for Prop. 1, it sends a message to states that didn’t do anything this year — ‘Why didn’t you? Where were you?’ — and to take this moment seriously and get ahead of the next round of Supreme Court decisions. Let’s dust off any timidity here and apathy and take seriously the world we’re living in.”

Newsom’s first Proposition 1 spot, which is debuting on Monday and was shared first with POLITICO, is part of a larger $5 million TV ad campaign he’s running between now and the election. In the ad, Newsom warns that health care clinics that perform abortions are being shut down by “extreme” Republican officials: “Women are under attack,” he says.

Newsom concludes the spot by stating that passage of Prop. 1 will ensure that “California remains a ‘freedom state’ forever.” The ad, which is treated as a contribution in support of Prop. 1, will make the governor the second-largest donor to the measure behind the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, a Northern California-based tribe that has provided $5 million in funding.

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