LOS ANGELES — California may become the next testing ground for the nation’s roiled, unpredictable politics as an effort to give voters a chance to fire Gov. Gavin Newsom moves closer to reality.
Not long ago, the notion that liberal favorite Newsom could be ousted by voters in the heavily Democratic state who elected him in a landslide two years ago would have appeared farcical. But the slippery politics of the pandemic and a tangle of confounding decisions on vaccines and reopening businesses and schools have conspired to make the first-term Democrat look vulnerable.
Newsom’s popularity is tumbling and a proposed recall election appears on track to qualify for the ballot.
A recall in the nation’s most populous state would become a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play.
California voters weary of restrictions that have cut them off from jobs, classrooms and friends, combined with anxiety from the continuing threat of the Coronavirus, could create a volatile mix at the ballot box. Newsom also has weathered a public drubbing for dining out with friends and lobbyists at a San Francisco Bay Area restaurant last fall, while telling residents to stay home.