_
_
_
_
_

Battle for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat starts shaping up in California

Adam Schiff and former baseball player Steve Garvey are leading the race heading into Super Tuesday

Steve Garvey
Steve Garvey, a baseball player for the Dodgers and Padres, is aiming to be the best-placed Republican Senate candidate since 1988.Damian Dovarganes (AP)
Luis Pablo Beauregard

Dianne Feinstein held her Senate seat for 30 years until her death last September. Now all signs seem to indicate that a man will take over from the legendary senator. The race to occupy one of the Democrats’ most important seats is starting to be defined. After months of tough competition, the polls are beginning to outline who will be competing for a place on the November ballot in the primaries on Super Tuesday, March 5. Leading the race are Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the public face of Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and Steve Garvey, a former baseball player who has risen to prominence as a Republican politician.

No Republican in California has won a seat in the upper house in 36 years. Since 2006, the party has not won a single national election in California, a state that has 22 million registered voters. To change this long history of defeats, the Republican Party has taken a sports celebrity off the bench. Garvey, 75, was known on the diamond as Mr. Clean, for his elegant style displayed in 18 seasons in which he played for two California teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. In 1974, he was awarded the National League MVP. For the first time, the Republicans have a candidate with a name that some voters recognize.

Mr. Clean’s political debut has not been without mud-slinging. The press and his opponents have questioned whether he really stands for traditional values, pointing out that he had children out of wedlock. The scandal first broke in the late 1980s, and has now resurfaced in the middle of the campaign. The children from Garvey’s extramarital affairs have spoken to the press for the first time.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, on June 21, 2022.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, on June 21, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite (AP)

“In our childhoods, multiple efforts were made through attorneys to arrange a meeting or even a phone call with Mr. Garvey, but he declined every opportunity,” two of his children, both 34, said in a joint statement. “There’s something lacking in him, something not authentic,” his firstborn daughter, Krisha Garvey, told The Los Angeles Times. “I wouldn’t want the people of California to buy into that just because he hit a ball really well.”

But Garvey still has a chance at winning according to the polls. A survey published on Tuesday confirmed Garvey’s spot in second place, with 22% of the vote. In the lead is Schiff (28%), who is the strongest candidate to take Feinstein’s seat. On Monday, The Hill reported that support for Garvey had risen 4% in recent weeks, compared to 3% for Schiff.

These polls are bad news for the Democratic candidates who have been fighting for Schiff for the nomination. This group includes Congresswomen Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, the only African American among the leading contenders. The former is polling at 16% while the latter is at 9%, according to Inside California Politics and Emerson College. However, 17% of voters have not yet decided who they will support in the Super Tuesday primaries, when 16 states and American Samoa will vote in the primaries. Laphonza Butler, the union leader who was appointed to Feinstein’s seat after her death, said in October that she was not running for reelection — an announcement that narrowed the race.

The Democratic and Republican candidates will appear on the same ballot on March 5. The two candidates who receive the most votes will then advance to the November general election. Democrats are so popular in California that in the 2016 and 2018 elections, only Democratic candidates were on the ballot. Garvey could give Trump’s party its best result in the state since 1988, when Pete Wilson managed to keep his seat in the upper house. That was the last senator that Republican Californians sent to Washington. To change history, Garvey must score a home run. However, that was never his specialty on the diamond.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition


More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
_
_