Former baseball player and legend Steve Garvey may run for California’s Senate seat in 2024. Garvey, who played for the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, is meeting with voters and GOP senior officials to decide whether he will enter the race, which includes several prominent Democratic candidates such as Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. Though Garvey has teased political involvement before, he has yet to become a candidate. Veteran consultant Andy Gharakhani, who is advising Garvey, confirms that the former MVP is “seriously considering entering the race.”
Garvey’s candidacy could give the Republican Party a chance to make the November election, noted in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office and dominate the legislative and congressional delegations. Republicans are outnumbered by Democratic voters by around 2-to-1. This challenge is a well-known one, with GOP candidates performing terribly in the state’s last two U.S. Senate races, leading to only two Democrats advancing to the November ballot. Garvey’s celebrity status would hardly make him a frontrunner in the race, however, it could give the party a chance to increase voting turnout and help down-ballot GOP candidates.
While Garvey’s celebrity status has the possibility of producing surprises at the ballot box, Democratic consultant Roger Salazar warns that Garvey’s challenge will be changing the perception of the GOP brand in a liberal-leaning state such as California. In the state’s political environment, Trump lost in the 2020 election in a landslide. Moreover, Garvey is seen as notoriously affiliated with Republican presidents, including former President Ronald Reagan, who stood against abortion rights and environmental protection.
Garvey is not likely to win against the Democrats, but his involvement could scramble the dynamics of the race with a tremendous and growing field, says professor Thad Kousser, who teaches political science at the University of California. Garvey could play a significant part in the political game and add excitement to the Senate race’s dynamics. Interviewed by conservative media, Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel claims that Garvey would be one of the party’s dynamic candidates since Reagan. Steel adds he’s “good on the stump…and reminds me of a Reagan-esque approach.”
Republican attorney Eric Early recently entered the Senate contest, stating that Garvey “has more personal baggage than Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner”. It was a reference to Garvey’s 1980 sex scandals that scarred the reputation of his buttoned-down image as “Mr. Clean,” derived from his Dodger days.
In conclusion, though Garvey’s entrance in California’s Senate race is still preliminary, it has already begun for some significant discussions among political consultants and experts. Garvey’s candidacy could have a pivotal effect on the state’s GOP standing in a historically Democratic territory, as well as bring some much needed excitement to the state’s political landscape.