The Washington Post: California’s race for governor has become a referendum on resistance

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June 03, 2018

Scott Wilson

Front-runner’s fierce opposition to president sets up high-stakes clash

In the race to become governor of the nation’s most populous state, a place that has become synonymous with liberal resistance to Donald Trump, the president has seemed ­ever-present.

The Democratic front-runner in Tuesday’s primary, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has campaigned with a promise of fierce combat against a president widely unpopular here. As he made his way around the state over the weekend, his Twitter feed spliced pictures of his four telegenic children, accompanying him on the campaign bus, with acid gibes at Trump’s handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and it mixed praise of fellow Democrats with sharp criticisms of the National Rifle Association.

His Democratic challenger, former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has tried with less evident success to rally Latinos upset with Trump’s immigration positions, recently venturing to the border here for an appearance.

Republican John Cox, a little-known businessman, has won ­late-primary attention with Trump’s endorsement, part of the president’s effort to ensure a GOP candidate makes the November ballot under the unusual primary rules.