California recall fueled by a dinner, a ruling on same day

California Recall How it Began

On a single day last November, two events helped set the course for just the second recall election against a governor in California history: Gov. Gavin Newsom dined with 11 friends and lobbyists at one of the country’s most expensive restaurants as he pleaded with Californians to stay home, while those looking to kick him out of office won four more months to qualify for the ballot.

Photos of the maskless dinner showed the Democratic governor going against what he had been urging for months to combat the coronavirus: don’t gather in groups, keep your distance, wear a mask. That it was happening at the French Laundry — where the cheapest meal is $350 — fueled the idea Newsom was out of touch. The dinner turned up the heat on the fledgling recall, and the extra time allowed it to reach full boil.

By March, organizers had more than the 1.5 million signatures they needed to force a vote on whether to remove the first-term Democratic governor in the nation’s biggest blue state.