California Governor launches new ad taking aim at Florida on the 4th of July

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — California’s governor is taking aim at Gov. Ron DeSantis in a new attack ad set to air Monday on FOX News.

The 30-second spot claims Florida is less free under its Republican leadership, and encourages Floridians to fight back or move to California.

>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE <<<

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

This isn’t the first time the two governors have clashed.

The spat between Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis started heating up during the pandemic, with DeSantis often jabbing at California over its more stringent COVID restrictions.

The shot heard round the world in the battle of Lexington and Concord was fired on April 19, but California’s Gov. Newsom chose the Fourth of July to fire a shot he hopes will be heard around Florida.

“It’s Independence Day. So, let’s talk about what’s going on in America. Freedom is under attack in your state,” said Newsom in the ad.

The ad is the latest escalation in a now multi-year feud between the two governors.

Both have been seen as potential presidential candidates in 2024.

Read: Local organizations host march for reproductive rights in Neptune Beach

Newsom’s new ad targets newly signed Florida laws, including the 15-week abortion ban, and a ban on sexual orientation and gender identity being taught to students in grades K-3.

“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight or to join us in California, where we still believe in freedom,” said Newsom.

While Newsom may be hoping Floridians will move into his state, since the start of the pandemic, California has been losing residents at a faster rate than 48 other states.

According to a recent report by moving company moveBuddha, Florida is absorbing 8% of the Golden State’s lost residents.

Only Texas is taking in a larger share of former California residents.

Another report by moveBuddha found Florida’s population has seen the fastest growth rate of any state since the start of the pandemic, with 10% of new residents coming from California.

The spike in California transplants prompted DeSantis to voice concern during a speaking engagement in April.

Read: July 4 fireworks prices soar as inflation increases nationwide, locally

“Texas would have all these companies move from California over the years. So, you’d have companies move from San Francisco to Austin, and they’d bring hundreds of employees with them, and those employees would vote the exact same way they voted that turned San Francisco into the dumpster fire that it is,” said DeSantis.

A spokesperson for Gov. DeSantis’ reelection campaign responded to the Newsom ad in an emailed statement.

“Gavin Newsom might as well light a pile of cash on fire. Pass the popcorn for his desperate attempt to win back the California refugees who fled the hellhole he created in his state to come to Florida. The people of Florida pay no mind to the pathetic smear campaigns from the Democrats and their allies in the corporate media. We’re too busy enjoying the freedom Governor Ron DeSantis has created in the Sunshine State,” said DeSantis For Governor re-election campaign spokesperson Dave Abrams.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.