Schiff, Garvey advance in CA US Senate race

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday March 6, 2024
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Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff, left, will face Republican retired baseball star Steve Garvey in November in the race for a U.S. Senate seat. Photos: Courtesy the campaigns
Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff, left, will face Republican retired baseball star Steve Garvey in November in the race for a U.S. Senate seat. Photos: Courtesy the campaigns

Congressmember Adam Schiff and retired baseball star Steve Garvey advanced to the November general election in the race for a California U.S. Senate seat.

Schiff, a Democrat from Burbank, will take on Garvey, a Republican, after he spent millions of dollars in TV ads to elevate the former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres first baseman, who did not spend much time campaigning or elaborating policy positions. With California a solid blue state, Schiff immediately becomes the favorite to replace the late senator Dianne Feinstein in the Senate. California hasn't elected a Republican to statewide office since 2006.

Schiff's campaign decision to promote Garvey knocked out Congressmember Katie Porter (D-Irvine), who finished third and was positioned to be a more formidable candidate in November should she have taken second place. Porter will leave office in January.

Under the state's open primary, the top two finishers regardless of party advance to the general election.

Congressmember Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), a longtime progressive champion, saw her elected political career come to an end Tuesday; she will also leave office in January. Lee had not raised much money in the Senate contest — she had few TV commercials — and consistently polled in the high single digits, well behind the other major candidates.

Following Feinstein's death last September, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Laphonza Butler (D), a Black lesbian, to fill the seat. Butler subsequently decided not to seek election, meaning her time in office will end in November after the vote is certified. Californians voted twice in the Senate contest Tuesday, once to fill the unexpired term of Feinstein, and once for a full six-year term. Voters will do so again in November.

Preliminary results from the California Secretary of State's office for the partial term had Garvey in first place with 34.6% of the vote, followed by Schiff with 30.8%. Porter was in third with 16%, followed by Lee at 9.3%. The top two move on to the fall ballot.

For the full term, unofficial results showed Schiff in first place with 33.2% of the vote, followed by Garvey at 32.4%. Porter garnered 13.8% of the vote and Lee trailed with 7.4%.

Other minor candidates rounded out the vote in both races.

Schiff wrote on X, "Thank you, California."

Lee did not concede on Tuesday, stating she would wait for the votes to be counted.

"Our campaign has always been about giving a voice to people who don't feel heard in Washington — and I'm exceptionally proud of the grassroots, multi-ethnic, cross-generational coalition this campaign built across California to send someone who will fight for them and speak truth to power in the Senate," she stated.

"I'm looking forward to watching the results in the coming days," she added.

Porter thanked her supporters in a message on X prior to the polls closing. In the final days of the campaign, she acknowledged in last minute fundraising appeals that she likely would fall short, as polls had her in third place behind Garvey and Schiff.

In Palm Desert, Garvey spoke at his election night party. The Los Angeles Times reported that he thanked supporters and used a baseball analogy about finishing in the top two.

"Welcome to the California comeback," Garvey told the crowd. "What you are all feeling tonight is what it's like to hit a walk-off home run. ... Keep in mind, this is the first game of a doubleheader. So keep the evening of November 5 open, as we'll celebrate again."

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