Adam Schiff might have some reason to be nervous. In a move presaged by some commentators as early as the beginning of September, former Dodgers and Padres First Baseman Steve Garvey publicly announced his campaign to replace the late Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) running against an as-yet undetermined Democrat challenger. A three-way primary challenge is already underway featuring seasoned politicians Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff, and Katie Porter.
According to Axios, it is presently unclear if Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-CA), the controversial appointment of Gov. Gavin Newsom who appears to have relocated to California specifically for the role, will stand for re-election after completing Feinstein’s term.
In a statement, Garvey told reporters,
“In baseball, it’s not about the individual; it’s about the team,” suggesting that if elected he would seek to align with GOP leadership. “I believe the same holds true for politics. It’s time we come together, find common ground, and work towards a brighter future.”
Garvey noted that California was once what he called the heartbeat of America but today is “just a murmur.”
“I never played for Democrats or Republicans or independents,” the Major League MVP said in his video announcement. “I played for all of you.”
In an interview with OANN, Garvey told Elex Michaelson,
“There’s been a malaise with the people of California. They’ve just given up that they’ve heard one voice and they don’t feel like they have a voice, so they wish somebody would stand up and fight for them, and nobody has,” he said. “And so I think it’s time for somebody to stand up, and that’s me.”
.@SteveGarvey6 wants to be the first Republican to represent CA in the U.S. Senate since 1992.
But he doesn't use the word "Republican" in his launch video.
"There is an R next to my name & I shop at Brooks Brothers…but it's a Steve Garvey campaign!"
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) October 10, 2023
As Michaelson observed, in his introductory video Garvey never uses the word “Republican” a single time. He told the host of The Issue Is: “There is an R next to my name & I shop at Brooks Brothers…but it’s a Steve Garvey campaign!”
According to a September UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by The LA Times Garvey was polling in a dead heat with Republican Businessman James Bradley at 7%, just ahead of perennial candidate Attorney Eric Early.
In California’s open-primary system, the presence of three Republicans on the ticket could hurt GOP prospects according to Mark DiCamillo, director of the Times-Berkeley poll.
“The more Republicans there are [in the race], the lower their chances are of getting somebody in the top two, just because they divide each other’s support up,” he told the Times.
“You can change that with a lot of campaigning, but they don’t appear to be that competitive right now for the top two positions,” he added.
While the LA Times’ expert may be skeptical it is worth noting that in 2018 the late Senator Feinstein barely retained her seat by a slim 9-point margin compared to 2012 when she took a commanding 25-point victory. Comparatively anemic polling for both Schiff and Porter at 20 and 15 percent respectively according to the most recent Public Policy Institute of California poll suggests vulnerability in the Democrat side of the race as well.
I have a new Republican opponent – Steve Garvey.
Before he was a multi-millionaire Republican celebrity, he was a first baseman.
Based on his announcement, it sounds like he’s ready to take up the fight for everyone born on third base — thinking they hit a triple.
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) October 10, 2023
In a post to X, formerly Twitter, Schiff has already targeted Garvey, writing, “I have a new Republican opponent – Steve Garvey. Before he was a multi-millionaire Republican celebrity, he was a first baseman. Based on his announcement, it sounds like he’s ready to take up the fight for everyone born on third base — thinking they hit a triple. Go figure.”
The rapid, knee-jerk response from Schiff, rather than undermining Garvey could show something else entirely: that he views the 74-year-old, popular Republican as a threat.