Baseball Legend Could Stir Up Race for Feinstein's Seat

Steve Garvey is a Republican, but also famous, so 'never say never'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
Baseball Legend, a Republican, Might Run for Feinstein's Seat
FILE - Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey waves to fans before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, June 29, 2019, in San Diego. Garvey, who played in Los Angeles and San Diego, is considering entering California's 2024 U.S. Senate race as a Republican.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File)

You'd have to go back a generation—to 1988—to find the last time a Republican candidate won a US Senate race in heavily Democratic California. This time, the party might get an MVP on the ballot. Baseball legend Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, is meeting with voters and senior GOP officials as he weighs a potential 2024 Senate bid in a race that already has several prominent Democratic contenders, the AP reports. He appeared at a recent fundraiser for Republican Rep. Michelle Steel in Orange County, where he signed baseballs and talked about his potential candidacy. “He is seriously considering entering the race,” said veteran consultant Andy Gharakhani, who is advising Garvey.

Garvey has flirted with the possibility of entering politics before, including after his retirement from baseball, when he teased a possible US Senate run but never became a candidate. “I have been approached to run for office and am exploring that. No announcement is imminent," Garvey said in a statement released by a Dodgers team spokesperson. The 74-year-old Garvey had an 18-year major league career, and he was National League MVP in 1974. He retired from baseball in 1987. The growing field of candidates already includes Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee. The seat is held by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has announced she is not seeking another term.

Garvey would be an underdog—Democrats, who outnumber Republicans about 2-to-1 in the state, hold every statewide office and dominate the legislative and congressional delegations. But the power of celebrity can produce surprises at the ballot box, noted veteran Democratic consultant Roger Salazar, pointing to the political rise of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. “I've learned to never say never when it comes to celebrities in politics,” Salazar added. (More California stories.)

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