Newsom sees his political fortunes rise as California reopens

Newsom is back in the spotlight, only this time he’s giving away $1.5 million cash prizes and free vacations in a lottery for inoculated Californians instead of offering grim news about infections and deaths, and telling people what they can do instead of what they cannot.

“The recall thrived because of the pandemic, and now it’s going to wither because of the pandemic,” said Democratic political consultant Rose Kapolczynski, who was former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s chief campaign advisor. “In the end voters know the governor isn’t perfect, but he’s delivering on what they want most, which is reopening the state.”

Given California’s low coronavirus infection rates and high vaccination levels, Newsom’s move to rescind restrictions is likely to ensure the lockdowns and political errors that helped fuel dissension fade into memories by the time voters head to the polls, political observers say.

The state’s recovery, combined with the desire of Californians to get on with their lives, also drains oxygen from the recall effort.