Los Angeles Dodgers legend and Republican Steve Garvey has discussed the possibility of running to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a move that would reshape California’s marquee Senate race.
“He is seriously considering entering the race,” consultant Andy Gharakhani, who is advising the former All-Star, said in a text message. “He’s concerned about the same issues facing all Californians, out of control cost-of-living and high taxes, rising crime and lack of opportunities.”
Garvey’s possible entrance — first reported by the Los Angeles Times — would jolt a still-forming Republican field and could disrupt the overall race enough to affect which Democrat reaches the November 2024 runoff.
A multi-time All-Star who won the National League’s Most Valuable Player award in 1974, Garvey played for the Dodgers and San Diego Padres — a career that made him an icon in a populous and Republican-rich swath of California.
Name recognition could boost his chances of consolidating an up-for-grabs Republican electorate. The only GOP candidate so far — Eric Early — ran for attorney general in 2022 but has never held elected office.
Three House Democrats are already running: Adam Schiff; Katie Porter; and Barbara Lee.
Word of a potential Garvey candidacy has circulated among California Republicans for years.
The former major leaguer has repeatedly floated the idea of running for U.S. Senate. While a much-admired athlete, Garvey received negative publicity in 1989 when two women said they became pregnant while involved with him. At the time of the report, he was marrying a third woman. He did not dispute the allegations and pledged to take responsibility for any offspring and said his new wife was aware of the situation.
California’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate all but ensures that a Democrat will replace Feinstein. But the state’s primary system, which allows the top two vote-getters to advance to the general election regardless of party, complicates the path. A strong Republican bid could mean only one Democrat advances.
It’s possible two Democrats make the November runoff, as happened in 2016 and 2018. That’s less likely if Republicans, who make up a quarter of the state’s electorate, unify behind Garvey or another Republican.
“Democrats can split the vote because they have room to work with,” said Republican consultant Matt Fleming. “Republicans don’t have any room to work with.”
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