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As Gavin Newsom and John Cox gathered on election night with supporters of their campaigns for governor in San Francisco and San Diego, another man loomed over the celebrations: President Trump.
The president endorsed Mr. Cox last month, and despite Mr. Trump’s lackluster popularity in California, the Cox campaign has overwhelmingly embraced the association.
“We put a businessman in the White House, let’s put a businessman in the governor’s mansion,” Mr. Cox said triumphantly on Tuesday night, shortly after he secured enough votes in the primary to earn a place on the general election ballot in November.
Mr. Trump’s endorsement tweet was even pasted to the bottom of news releases sent by the campaign.
Mr. Cox has not only rejected the negative attacks on the White House by California Democrats, but has also sought to flip those critiques back onto liberals by emphasizing high taxes and high rates of poverty and homelessness in the state. “It wasn’t Donald Trump that made California the highest-taxed state in the country; it was Gavin Newsom and the Democrats,” he said.
Mr. Newsom, for his part, has already shown his desire to frame the contest as a referendum on Mr. Trump’s agenda, and has painted Mr. Cox as a surrogate for the president.
“We’re engaged in an epic battle, and it looks like voters will have a real choice this November — between a governor who is going to stand up against Donald Trump and a foot soldier in his war on California,” Mr. Newsom told supporters in San Francisco.
Mr. Cox faces long odds in California, with or without Mr. Trump’s support.
Mr. Newsom “can run as hard left as he wants and as long as he attacks Trump two or three times a day, he’ll be just fine,” said Dan Schnur, who was an adviser to the former Republican governor Pete Wilson. “The only thing better than winning big for Newsom would be to goad Trump into the race.”
More election coverage from The Times:
• Read our story about the sharp ideological differences between Mr. Newsom and Mr. Cox, with more analysis about Mr. Trump’s presence in the race.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• Frustration over housing and homelessness is pushing some San Francisco voters to the right. [The New York Times]
• A San Diego judge ruled on Wednesday that separating parents from their children at the border may be unconstitutional and violate due process. [The New York Times]
• Op-Ed: Democrats did well on Tuesday. The Left didn’t. [The New York Times]
• State leaders are “gravely concerned” over the more than 118,000 names left off voter rosters in Los Angeles County on Election Day. [ Los Angeles Times]
• If elected governor in the fall, Mr. Newsom would take office with a policy agenda more liberal than that of any other blue-state governor in the country. [The Sacramento Bee]
• Mr. Cox and Mr. Newsom have outlined dramatically different visions for education in California. [EdSource]
• Two climbers scaled El Capitan in under two hours Wednesday, a breakneck pace that set a record. [The Associated Press]
• How one New York Times writer learned to love electric scooters. [The New York Times]
• Wondering why California ballots take so long to count? In part, it’s because a growing number of people vote by mail. [The Sacramento Bee]
• The San Joaquin Valley remains a sea of Republican voters. [The Fresno Bee Editorial Board]
• An effort to recall a Democratic state senator in Orange County appears to have succeeded. The recall resulted from anger over his vote for the SB 1 gas tax, and could cost Democrats a supermajority in the Legislature. [The Orange County Register]
• Several conservative district attorneys in the state survived electoral challenges Tuesday despite high-profile efforts to replace them with liberal prosecutors. [Los Angeles Times]
• The columnist Steve Lopez wrote about the surprising apathy toward voting he found in California, despite its reputation as the heart of the “resistance” to Mr. Trump’s agenda. [ Los Angeles Times]
• A brush fire in Campo, in San Diego County, consumed more than 250 acres. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
And Finally …
Jordan Pank says Republicans like her are uncommon on the San Diego State University campus, where she is a rising senior studying political science and international conflict resolution. As such, she mostly keeps her beliefs to herself when she’s there.
“I just avoid talking politics with my friends because they tend to get a little aggravated,” Ms. Pank, 21, said. “So unless you’re having an academic conversation about it, it’s better to just avoid it.”
But on Tuesday she talked and talked about her politics as a volunteer for the Republican congressional candidate Diane Harkey. She spent the day phonebanking from Ms. Harkey’s campaign office at a strip mall in Oceanside, reminding conservative Orange County voters to get to the polls. Several of the phones she and fellow volunteers were using overheated from placing too many calls.
It was a world away from campus. Ms. Pank, who grew up in Fullerton, said that the atmosphere at her school had become much more politically charged since Mr. Trump came into office, to the detriment of political conversations across the ideological spectrum.
“People are definitely less accepting now if you tend to have conservative views, which is an interesting dynamic,” she said.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.