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Gavin Newsom is having a great Republican National Convention

Don't take marijuana legalization for granted, Gavin Newsom says

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the major proponent of a measure to legalize marijuana in California, speaks about the ballot initiative's chances on June 21, 2016 at a pot conference in Oakland.
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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the major proponent of a measure to legalize marijuana in California, speaks about the ballot initiative's chances on June 21, 2016 at a pot conference in Oakland.

One Democrat having a good Republican National Convention: Gavin Newsom.

California’s lieutenant governor has long been relatively effective at picking fights outside the state to rally supporters back home. For his political purposes, Cleveland could hardly make it any easier.

As the convention entered its second day, Newsom, a candidate for governor in 2018, was trending on Facebook. He had jumped on criticism of Donald Trump for using Queen’s anthem “We are the Champions” at the convention. The group’s late frontman, Freddie Mercury, was gay.

“His music was played at a convention where the most anti-LGBT policy platform was adopted, just today,” Newsom said on Facebook, in a post that by Wednesday had been shared more than 21,000 times.

Newsom will go on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” broadcast during the convention on Thursday night.

Trump, a New York businessman, has sought to embrace gay and lesbian people in his campaign. The speaker lineup at the convention on Thursday includes PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who is gay. But the Republican Party platform continues to oppose gay marriage and is staunchly conservative on other issues, and Newsom has spent the week hitting the GOP for it.

Heralding from heavily Democratic California, Newsom is on safe ground. In the gubernatorial race so far, it is also mostly his. Neither state Treasurer John Chiang, who is running against Newsom, nor any other Democrat expected to enter the race, is as proficient on social media.

The equation will change next week when the Democratic National Convention opens in Philadelphia. Newsom will be there. But so will Gov. Jerry Brown and just about every other high-profile Democrat from the state.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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