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Former Baseball Player Steve Garvey Joins Senate Race In California

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Steve Garvey, a former baseball star, is running for the US Senate in California with the hopes of becoming the party’s first representative from the state since 1988.

Garvey, 74, played for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 14 seasons. He was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1974 and helped the team win the World Series in 1981. Later, he played with the San Diego Padres for five seasons, helping them win the World Series in 1984.

In a video introducing his candidacy on Tuesday, he made reference to his baseball career, saying, “It’s time to get back in the game.”

The late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who passed away in late September, had a packed field of candidates fighting for her seat. Garvey is the most recent candidate to enter the race.

It’s unclear at this time whether Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler, a former labor leader nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve out Feinstein’s remaining term, would run in the primary election for a full six-year term.

Democrats Lexi Reese, a former IT CEO, and Reps. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, and Katie Porter are already vying for the position. Eric Early, a Republican lawyer who unsuccessfully campaigned for state attorney general the previous year, is also running.

Since 1988, when Pete Wilson won a second term before being elected governor two years later, California has not elected a Republican senator.

The last Republican to represent California in the Senate was John Seymour, whom Wilson appointed to the position. He left office in 1992 after losing to Feinstein in a special election.

All candidates will compete in the same primary under the California system, with the top two finishers—regardless of party—advancing to the general election. The state is now so predominately blue that two Democrats won the 2016 and 2018 Senate elections after winning their respective primaries.

Republicans have a history of winning statewide elections with star power, though. In order to serve as governor from 2003 to 2011, Arnold Schwarzenegger used his fame as a movie star and his message of moderation. Republican celebrity candidates, such as former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who ran in the 2021 gubernatorial recall, have, however, had less success in recent years.

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