It would be reasonable, if not expected, for Newsom’s 2022 opponent to use the French Laundry scandal against him, but it is does not rise to the level of provoking a recall — a process that skirts regularly scheduled elections and should be limited only to urgent situations.
California is the country’s most populous state and has often drawn a lot of attention from the national media, so it is not surprising that the bad Covid news there is a national story. And if the state’s chief executive badly mishandles a crisis like Covid, maybe there is an urgency to replacing him.
Like all governors, whatever plans Newsom might have had were thrown off course by the Covid pandemic. His record there has been considerably better than the coverage of California politics would suggest, but he has made missteps in his handling of the crisis and has become a target of voter anger seemingly driven as much by exhaustion and frustration with the pandemic itself than with anything specific that Newsom has done.
The question facing Californians, though, is not whether Newsom has been a great governor, but whether he has failed badly enough that he should be prematurely forced out of office. Other than a scandal at the French Laundry, which was a stupid mistake, there is simply no reason to recall a governor for the crime of doing a slightly better than average job fighting the coronavirus pandemic.