Democrat Schiff, Republican Garvey Advance in California Senate Race

Democrat Schiff, Republican Garvey Advance in California Senate Race

(Left) Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and (Right) Republican candidate and former major league baseball star Steve Garvey. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images and Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Time Warner Cable)

Brad Jones

Brad Jones

3/5/2024

Updated: 3/11/2024

PALM DESERT, Calif.—Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Republican Steve Garvey, a former major league baseball star, placed first and second, respectively, in California’s jungle primary on Super Tuesday.
The pair will face off in November to fill the seat that was held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), now deceased, for both the one year left in her term and the six-year term that begins in January 2025.
In California’s “open” or “jungle” primary system, only the top two vote-getters—regardless of party—move on to the general election.
With Mr. Schiff and Mr. Garvey, candidates for both parties are now running in the general election in this Democratic stronghold.
“They say in the general election that we’re going to strike out. That’s from the crowd that believes in the ’status quo.‘ Well, Ronald Reagan said that’s Latin for ’the mess we’re in.’ It ain’t over till it’s over,” Mr. Garvey said at his watch party in Palm Desert.
Heading into Super Tuesday, Mr. Schiff’s supporters bolstered the legendary first baseman’s campaign to achieve an easier Republican–Democrat match in November instead of an all-blue battle.
“My opponent has been advertising he wants me, and he’s mistaking kindness for weakness,” Mr. Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, said of Mr. Schiff. “He’s like the pitcher that throws me a 70-mile-an-hour fastball and then watches as I run the bases.”
Republicans were shut out of the past two competitive U.S. Senate elections in California, with only Democrats on the general election ballot in 2016, when Kamala Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez, and in 2018, when Ms. Feinstein beat then-state Sen. Kevin de León.
California Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey, a former baseball all-star, speaks to reporters at a watch party in Palm Desert, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (Brad Jones/The Epoch Times)

California Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey, a former baseball all-star, speaks to reporters at a watch party in Palm Desert, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (Brad Jones/The Epoch Times)

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) arrives at a polling station to vote in Burbank, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) arrives at a polling station to vote in Burbank, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Mr. Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter, and Rep. Barbara Lee gave up their House seats to run for the Senate, leaving their congressional districts open.
Ms. Feinstein held her U.S. Senate seat for the Democrats from 1992 until her death on Sept. 29, 2023. She had announced in mid-February 2023 that she wouldn’t seek reelection, opening the door to a wide array of contenders.
In the March 5 primary, voters had a choice of voting for senator twice—once for the full six-year Senate term and once in a special election to fill the remainder of Ms. Feinstein’s term. A total of 30 candidates ran for both the full-term and partial-term elections, with 27 candidates running for the full term, according to the office of California Secretary of State.
The top four candidates—Mr. Schiff, Mr. Garvey, Ms. Porter, and Ms. Lee—recently faced off in two televised debates on topics including the Israel–Hamas and Ukraine–Russia wars, the border crisis, the economy, housing and homelessness, health care, and abortion.
In the first debate, Ms. Porter grilled Mr. Garvey about whether he plans to vote for former President Donald Trump—the clear front-runner for Republican presidential nomination—for a third time.
Mr. Garvey, covering his political bases, dodged the question, setting himself up for Ms. Porter’s quip, “Once a dodger, always a dodger.”
“This is not the minor leagues,” she said. “Who will you vote for?”
When pressed further by Fox News host Elex Michaelson for an answer, Mr. Garvey said: “When the time comes, I’ll do exactly what I said. I will look at the two opponents, I will determine what they did, and at that time, I will make my choice.”
He defended President Trump, saying that although he has been called “terrible for the world,” Americans were much safer under his watch than under President Joe Biden’s.
“I don’t believe Joe Biden has been good for this country,” Mr. Garvey said.
He said that in the past two presidential elections, President Trump was the strongest choice over his opponents: Hillary Clinton, who “talked down” to Americans and “thought she was entitled” to the presidency in 2016, and then-candidate Joe Biden, who “stayed in a basement and only came out in controlled environment” in 2020.
Polls show that two-thirds of California Republicans support President Trump.
Mr. Schiff, a well-known political foe of President Trump, along with Ms. Porter and Ms. Lee, relentlessly attacked Mr. Garvey for voting for President Trump in 2016 and 2020 at both the Jan. 22 and Feb. 12 televised debates.
Mr. Garvey pushed back against Mr. Schiff in the debate, calling him out for lying to Congress and his leading role in what has become widely known as the “Russia hoax.” The U.S. House of Representatives censured Mr. Schiff for his unsubstantiated claims that President Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia, and his leading role in the Trump-Russia probe.
The censure, a formal reprimand of a member’s conduct, passed with a 213–209 vote.
“I think you’ve been censured for lying,” Mr. Garvey said.
“I was censured for standing up to a corrupt president, and you know something, I would do it all over again,” Mr. Schiff replied.
“Sir, you lied to 300 million people. You can’t take that back,” Mr. Garvey said.

Other Candidates

Republicans James Bradley and Eric Early, both pro-Trump candidates who were excluded from participating in the debate, told The Epoch Times that the voices of “America First” candidates were missing from the debate, even though the majority of California Republicans back President Trump.
Aside from the four candidates at the debate, plus Mr. Bradley and Mr. Early, other candidates included Republicans Sharleta Bassett and Denice Gary-Pandol; Democrats Christina Pascucci, Sepi Gilani, and Harmesh Kumar; Libertarian Gail Lightfoot; and a number of independent and no-party-preference candidates.
California’s other U.S. Senate seat, held by Democrat Sen. Alex Padilla, won’t be up for grabs until the 2028 general election. The governor appointed Mr. Padilla to fill the vacancy left by Ms. Harris when she became Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020. Mr. Padilla was later elected to a full six-year term in 2022, defeating Republican Mark Meuser.
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Brad Jones

Brad Jones

Author

Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.

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