Baseball legend Steve Garvey considers US Senate bid

Norman Ray
Norman Ray

Global Courant

LOS ANGELES — You’d have to go back a generation — to 1988 — to find the last time a Republican candidate won a U.S. Senate race in heavily Democratic California. This time, the party may get an MVP on the ballot.

Baseball legend Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, meets with voters and senior GOP officials as he weighs a possible 2024 Senate bid in a race that already has several prominent Democratic contenders in the field. He appeared at a recent fundraiser for Orange County Republican Rep. Michelle Steel, drawing baseballs and speaking about his potential candidacy.

“He’s seriously considering entering the race,” said veteran adviser Andy Gharakhani, who advises Garvey.

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The 74-year-old Garvey had an 18-year major league career. He was National League MVP in 1974 and retired from baseball in 1987.

Garvey has previously flirted with the possibility of going into politics, including after his retirement from baseball, when he teased a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate but never ran for office.

“I have been approached to apply and am looking into that. There is no announcement imminent,” Garvey said in a statement from a spokesman for the Dodgers team.

Garvey’s candidacy would reshuffle a growing field that already includes Democratic Representatives Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. The seat is taken by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has announced that she is not seeking another term.

Still, even with his celebrity brilliance, Garvey would enter the race as an underdog. Democrats hold all offices statewide and dominate the legislative and congressional delegations. Republicans — who are outnumbered about 2 to 1 by Democratic voters in the state — have struggled for years to find candidates for top office.

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In the state’s last two U.S. Senate races, GOP candidates performed so poorly in the primary that only the Democrats advanced to the November ballot. Garvey’s candidacy could give the GOP a chance to make it to the November election, potentially boosting the party’s voter turnout and suppressing GOP candidates as well.

“I think Steve Garvey would be one of the most interesting and dynamic candidates for statewide office that Republicans have had in decades,” said Shawn Steel, married to the congressman, a member of the Republican National Committee.

“He’s good on the stump … and he reminds me of a Reagan-esque approach,” Steel added, referring to former Republican President Ronald Reagan, another Californian.

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AP writer Beth Harris contributed.

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Baseball legend Steve Garvey considers US Senate bid

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