Republicans have not won a US Senate race in heavily Democratic California since 1988
LOS ANGELES – 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 could get an MVP on the ballot.
Baseball legend Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, will meet with voters and top Republican officials as he weighs a potential 2024 Senate run in a race that already has several prominent Democratic contenders in the race. field. He appeared at a recent fundraiser for Republican Rep. Michelle Steel in Orange County, where he signed baseballs and discussed her possible candidacy.
“He is seriously considering entering the race,” said veteran consultant Andy Gharakhani, who advises Garvey.
Garvey, 74, had an 18-year major league career. He was the National League MVP in 1974 and retired from baseball in 1987.
Garvey has flirted with the possibility of entering politics before, including after his retirement from baseball, when he teased a possible run for the United States Senate, but never became a candidate.
“I have been contacted about running for office and I am exploring that. No announcement is imminent,” Garvey said in a statement issued by a Dodgers team spokesperson.
Garvey’s candidacy would reorder a growing field that already includes Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. The seat is held by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has announced that she will not seek another term.
Still, even with his celebrity gloss, Garvey would enter the race as an underdog. Democrats hold every state office and dominate congressional and legislative delegations. Republicans, who are outnumbered 2-1 by Democratic voters in the state, have struggled for years to find candidates for top offices.
In recent election cycles, California Republicans have criticized the Democratic-dominated state government, blaming the rival party for notoriously high taxes, a homelessness crisis, rising crime rates in cities and rising prices. of housing that are out of reach for many working-class families. .
Republican lawyer Eric Early, a failed candidate for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and for Congress in 2020, entered the Senate race in April. He has said he will campaign for the votes of “forgotten” Californians and against what he called “far left” ideology seeping into government.
“I think Steve Garvey would be one of the most exciting and dynamic candidates for state office that Republicans have had in decades,” said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel, who is married to the congresswoman.
“It’s good on the stump … and reminds me of a Reagan-style approach,” Steel added, referring to former Republican President Ronald Reagan, another Californian.
AP writer Beth Harris contributed.