Is Gavin Newsom on a fast track to a 2020 bid?

Newsom will be sworn in as California’s 40th governor on the first Monday in January. As far as the presidential calendar is concerned, he’ll lose precious time in the following months as he works on his first budget and legislative agenda while managing the likes of wildfire and other natural disasters.

However, the timing may not be as bad as it seems.

Newsom likely will have a budget in place by July 1, the beginning in California’s new fiscal year. By then, he probably will have been in a six-month war of e-words with President Trump, a frequent target of Newsom’s more pointed tweets (the two met this weekend, when Trump visited California to inspect wildfire damage, but don’t expect the truce to last).

Ethan Rarick, a longtime California political observer, noted a few months back in an op-ed that Newsom could use the Golden State’s deep aversion to Trump as the justification for a White House run, with this kind of spin: “I never wanted to be president, but Donald Trump’s latest outrage against decency and democracy means that all of us must join the fight. As the leader of the state that leads the resistance, I have a unique perspective, a unique experience, a unique voice. And so today I am announcing that I will be a candidate.”

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