SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Governor Gavin Newsom has spent the past two weeks doing a road show on immunization, heading to inoculation sites to tout the state’s rapidly improving coronavirus count and its efforts to build an infrastructure to deliver millions of shots every week.
It’s a good showcase for the governor who is barely two years after his first term but has seen his popularity drop and a recall election has become more and more likely.
The six-step tour serves the dual purpose of educating the public about their administration’s immunization efforts while presenting a campaign-friendly image of a responsible leader.
At every stop he was flanked by elected colleagues, mostly Democrats, who praised his leadership. And although Newsom barely commented publicly on the recall effort, those during his appearances needed no encouragement to reject the idea of firing him.
“Gov. Newsom has done an amazing job for the state of California, ”Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said Wednesday as Newsom visited a vaccination clinic in Coachella Valley. “Obviously there are differences of opinion, but ultimately, from the way I see it, this man stood up for us, for the underserved, and we’re doing our part to stand up for him as well.
Congressman Raul Ruiz, a doctor who represents the region, said Newsom “saved millions of lives with his early and decisive decisions.”
The fact that Democrats feel the need to congratulate the governor so effusively may underscore the seriousness of the recall effort and the party’s desire to show a united front, said Eric Schickler, co-director of the Institute for Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
The tour gives Newsom a chance to “remind voters that there is this team of Democratic lawmakers, government officials, working together rather than bickering with each other,” Schickler said.
Republican organizers of the recall say they have collected more than the 1.5 million signatures they need to force a vote on whether the governor deserves to keep his job. Most of these signatures have yet to be verified and some will inevitably be rejected, but the organizers still have a month to continue rallying.
The recall effort began before the pandemic as a partisan effort, with organizers criticizing Newsom’s approach to crime, homelessness and the economy. They have since taken on Newsom’s response to the pandemic, highlighting business and school closings as they tried to get more signatures.
It didn’t gain much traction until it was revealed Newsom had dined with friends – some of them lobbyists – at a fancy restaurant near Napa as he told Californians to wear. masks and staying at home to avoid spreading the virus. Photos from the event showed Newsom without a mask and him and the others sitting closely together at a table.
Newsom became less visible after the restaurant’s story broke, but with the drop in virus cases and the availability of vaccines, it is back in the foreground, as it was during the first months of the pandemic. His tour took him to most of the major media markets, giving him new visibility with millions of voters.
In Los Angeles, Newsom showcased a new, more positive relationship with the federal government under President Joe Biden as California opened up the first two federally backed mass vaccines. sites.
In San Diego – home of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer, the city’s former Republican mayor – he praised the city’s new Democratic leadership.
In the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, two areas were badly affected …
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