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GOP Senate Candidate Steve Garvey (Photo: Garvey for Senate)

Former Los Angeles Dodgers MVP Steve Garvey Enters Senate Race

‘Garvey has that clout that can bring more people in’

By Evan Symon, October 10, 2023 11:37 am

Following months of speculation, former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres First Baseman Steve Garvey announced on Tuesday that he would be running for the U.S. Senate in 2024, joining the race as a Republican in what has been a Democratically-dominated race so far.

Garvey, originally from Florida, began his baseball career in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as a batboy for several Major League Baseball (MLB) teams in Florida for spring training, including the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. Following playing for Michigan State in College, Garvey was then drafted by the LA Dodgers in 1966. He proceeded to play for them at the Major League level from 1969 to 1982, followed by a stint with the San Diego Padres from 1983-1987. During his career he made the All-Star Games 10 times, won the MLB MVP award, and won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1981.

Following his baseball career, Garvey went into media, specifically going after sports marketing, branding, and television production. While he has not entered a race for public office before, he does come in with business and non-profit experience having been on the Board of the Baseball Assistance Team, a non-profit organization aimed at helping former professional baseball players through financial and medical hardships, since 1990. He has tested the political waters before for possible runs in the past, and has been known to be a draw for many GOP fundraisers in Southern California, such as signing baseballs during fundraisers for lawmakers such as Congresswoman Michelle Steel (R-CA).

Earlier this year, Garvey made his most serious go for public office to date. In a June announcement, Garvey said he would likely be entering the Senate race later in the year. In the four months since, he remained largely quiet. A poll featuring Garvey as a speculative candidate on it was released last month by the by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS), with Garvey coming in tied for third place with 7%, being the top GOP candidate, and landing only 10 points behind the polls second-place finisher Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA). With Senator Dianne Feinstein also dying a few weeks ago and the Democrats looking at more possible candidates to enter, including newly minted Senator Laphonza Butler (D-CA) and royal Meghan Markle, news on the race has largely been Democratically centered in the past few weeks. However, this changed on Tuesday with Garvey’s announcement that he would be entering the Senate race.

In a video released on Tuesday, Garvey said that “Over 50 years ago, I came to California for the first time. September 1st of 1969, the Dodgers called me up and my dreams came true. Over the next 20 years I played for the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. I played in front of millions of fans. I never played for Democrats or Republicans or independents. I played for all of you.

“Now I’m running for the U.S. Senate in California, a state that I believed that one time was the heartbeat of America, but now is just a murmur. It’s going to be a common sense campaign. It’s going to be difficult, but we can do this together, you and I. It’s time to get off the bench. It’s time to get the uniform on. It’s time to get back in the game.”

Garvey enters the race as the Republican with the most public recognition thanks to being a former baseball star, as well as initial built in support amongst sports fans, although it skews more towards older voters because of him having been in the majors in the 70s and 80s. And while he comes in behind on funding, he has proven to be a masterful fundraiser for other candidates in the past and will likely generate campaign funds at a swift pace as a result.

Garvey enters the Senate race

However, compared to the other major candidates (Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), former Google executive Lexi Reese (D), Lawyer Eric Early (R), Executive James Bradley (R), and Porter), Garvey is entering the race somewhat late. Schiff, Porter, and Lee all announced their intent to run in January, while Garvey now has to bring about a big campaign with roughly only six months to go until the primary in March. And with California not having had an elected Republican as Senator in over three decades, Garvey’s bid is also seen as something of a longshot, especially with Garvey holding a mix of traditional Republican views, such as opposing Governor Newsom’s 2035 gas-powered car sale ban, and more moderate views, such as his stance on abortion.

Experts told the Globe on Tuesday that, despite Garvey’s late entry into the race, his campaign would likely spark some more life into the GOP and could lead to some results that had been even previously considered.

“So, the last Republican to win in California was in 1988 when Pete Wilson beat Leo McCarthy,” said Matt Saunders, a political consultant who helps advise candidates from entertainment and athletic fields. “Since then, it has been all Democrats in the Senate. But here is the odd thing. When Republicans won in other big races since then, the celebrity factor was huge. Sonny Bono was elected to Congress many times over for example. And then there was Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming Governor. Garvey isn’t as big as a name as them, but he is still well known, so that is going to be a factor, especially if some of his former teammates and big time fans come to his support. LA and San Diego have been Porter and Schiff areas, and this can really put that into question.”

“He isn’t squeaky clean either. He had a parentage scandal in the late 80’s and then there was a liability scandal in the 2000’s. Those can come up. But there hasn’t been anything recent, and mostly has been seen as a beloved former baseball player for years now. The fact he has not had public office doesn’t help him either, although being a fundraiser and a non-profit guy are plusses. I mean, Butler’s last job was heading a non-profit, and she was selected as Senator.”

“Best case scenario, right now, if you’re Republican is that Garvey boosts where he has been polling to above 10%. Third place, beating Lee and the others and coming behind Schiff and Porter. Runs hard into next year, could get a second place finish. But remember, Butler is a wild card now too. She comes in, fractures the Democrats even further, and suddenly Schiff and Porter support goes down. Early and Bradley have been polling 5%-10%. One of them drops out, throws the support to the other two, and on primary day, the GOP’s two candidates manage to beat the Democrats quarreling amongst themselves.”

“In all honesty, that is the remotest of chances happening. But the fact that people can seriously say that is now even possible says something. More realistically, Garvey could actually come away with second place if the Democrats keep this up and especially if Butler goes in. We need to see how he builds up support and see some more polls before we really speculate. Plus six months is a long time. A scandal can come up, someone else big can come in, Butler comes in, so much can happen. Porter and Schiff right now seem hard to beat, but Garvey coming in brings a real good chance at breaking that up.”

“The takeaway from Garvey entering is that the GOP now has a candidate with major public recognition. Early and Bradley have been getting some support, but Garvey has that clout that can bring more people in, not to mention Dodgers and Padres fans, as well as some Republicans, as a built-in base. The elephant in the room is the sheer number of Democratic voters, and that if Garvey gets a second place finish in March, he’ll have to face the Democratic winner in November, and that would be very difficult to win in the Democratic majority California.”

“Again, we need to give it some time and see how much he gains support, but it looks like we have a Republican Senate candidate that now has a chance in California, however remotely. It’s been some time since that has happened. The GOP just became a dark horse.”

More from the Garvey campaign is expected soon.

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Evan Symon
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5 thoughts on “Former Los Angeles Dodgers MVP Steve Garvey Enters Senate Race

  1. Steve Garvey is a reasonable choice compared to the radical Marxist globalist Democrats who are running? However, he would have zero chance of winning considering rampant Democrat voter fraud and rigged voting machines?

  2. If we can’t get rid of the *jungle primary* we’ll never be able to elect a Republican, even if Garvy is as much a “Rino” as Schwarzenegger is, it ain’t gonna happen.

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