New Challenger Rises In Contested Senate Seat

The race for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein is heating up in California, with a crowded primary contest and a focus on fundraising. The primary election is approaching, and candidates are vying for the top two spots that will advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Rep. Adam Schiff, known for his role in President Trump’s impeachment trial, has gained a significant advantage in fundraising and leads in the polls. However, many voters remain undecided.

The California primary ballot includes Democrats and Republicans, with more than two dozen names in the running. Among the well-known candidates are Reps. Barbara Lee and Katie Porter are Democrats and former Los Angeles Dodgers star Steve Garvey is a Republican. While Schiff seems poised to secure a spot in the general election, Porter’s campaign has been targeting Garvey, warning that his fame could jeopardize her chances.

Schiff’s campaign has been running ads statewide, labeling Garvey “too conservative for California.” This strategy aims to attract conservative voters while potentially diminishing Porter’s chances. Porter has accused Schiff of manipulating the system to secure an opponent he believes he can defeat in November.

Feinstein’s seat, which she held for a long and impactful career, is expected to stay in Democrat hands. Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate election in California since 1988. The race is taking place against a declining population and growing dissatisfaction among Californians regarding the state’s direction, inflation, and homelessness.

The presidential race’s outcome could influence the Senate race, potentially dampening turnout. President Joe Biden’s popularity has waned, particularly among key voting groups like Latinos and independents. On the other hand, former President Donald Trump is the favorite to secure the Republican nomination, which might discourage GOP turnout if the race seems predetermined by early March.

Garvey’s entry into the race has brought a dose of celebrity, but his first challenge is consolidating Republican support. He faces competition from attorney Eric Early, who has previously run for state attorney general and Congress. Democrats have sought to exploit GOP divisions and dissuade independents from voting for Garvey by highlighting his indecision regarding his vote for Trump in this election.

Garvey is among the few Republicans in recent years with a recognizable name running for statewide office. However, Democrats portray him as a political novice ill-equipped to handle the Senate’s challenges. They have also attacked his character, referencing sex scandals from the 1980s that tarnished his image as “Mr. Clean.” Despite these challenges, Garvey remains optimistic, emphasizing personal growth and the lessons he has learned from past mistakes.