California Gov. Gavin Newsom will be on a slate of speakers who will address the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

During the final night of the convention, the first-term governor will try and rally support for presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

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In 2018, Newsom defeated Republican businessman John Cox in the race to become the 40th governor of California and assumed office in January 2019.

Prior to being elected governor, Newsom was the lieutenant governor of California and mayor of San Francisco.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, addresses an election night crowd in Los Angeles, California after becoming the 40th governor of California on Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, addresses an election night crowd in Los Angeles, California after becoming the 40th governor of California on Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Newsom has made national headlines for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, when California’s public battle with the virus began and the state initially avoided the worst outcomes, he held commanding news conferences almost daily, announced the country's first statewide stay-at-home order and won mostly adherence from the state's 40 million residents.

But things began to change in May, when Newsom, under pressure from business leaders, allowed parts of the economy to begin reopening under a complicated, county-by-county process. Within weeks he reversed course as confirmed cases and the positive test rate rose.

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Newsom formally endorsed Joe Biden for president in May, praising the former vice president for his “deep compassion and empathy” during a virtual high-dollar fundraiser in partnership with the Democratic National Committee.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of you and the prospects of your presidency,” he told Biden.

Biden, in turn, said Newsom was doing “one hell of a job” leading California through the pandemic and thanked him for “protecting the cornerstone of our democracy – the right to vote.”

In the Democratic presidential primary, Newsom had supported Harris, a fellow Californian, before she exited the race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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