Discover more from Wonkette
Republicans Hope Whatshisname Who Played Whatsthatball Can Upset CA Senate Race
Steve Garvey is GOP’s relief candidate!
A Republican candidate has entered the US Senate race in California, along with the three (or possibly four) Democrats running. Former Dodger All-Star Steve Garvey announced this week that he’s seeking the seat Dianne Feinstein held for 30 years prior to her death.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Garvey is “banking on his baseball fame and affable demeanor to overcome the long odds Republicans face in this solidly Democratic state.” He apparently offers Republican voters “a dash of celebrity excitement.”
Garvey is 74 years old, and his last Major League baseball appearance was in 1987, when Republican Pete Wilson was in the Senate. This is what Republicans consider “star power”? He’s no Schwarzenegger.
If you’re already donating, please ignore this button. If you aren’t, here’s this button.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff seems worried though, based on his fundraising emails to me.
“Steve Garvey was a first baseman for the Dodgers and Padres, and apparently he’s ready to take up the fight for everyone born on third base thinking they hit a triple. Go figure.”
Despite it being one of the sainted Molly Ivins’s best lines, Garvey wasn’t actually born on third base, though. His father was a bus driver for Greyhound, and he started working as the Dodgers bat boy when he was seven.
Republicans probably don’t harbor a “Taylor Swift could beat Marsha Blackburn” delusion. The goal here is to put forth a mostly unobjectionable candidate who Republicans can rally around. Garvey is 1980s Hollywood Center Square famous enough that the party won’t have to break the bank raising his name recognition.
California has this weird system where Republicans and Democrats don’t nominate individual candidates for the general election. Instead, everyone in the state seemingly has the opportunity to run in the non-partisan blanket primary, and the top two vote getters advance to the November election.
In 2016, Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, finished in first and second place in the primary before Harris wiped the floor with Sanchez in the general. The best-performing Republican won just 7.8 percent of the vote and the 10 Republicans who ran in the primary managed a combined 27.9 percent.
Republican Mark P. Meuser made it to the general election in 2022 but that was likely because incumbent Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla faced no serious challenges from his party. Padilla thumped Meuser by more than 20 points.
The LA Times theorizes:
Though he hasn’t stepped on a baseball field as a player for more than three decades, Garvey may possess enough star appeal to consolidate California’s GOP vote and lure enough admiring baseball fans to wind up on the November ballot. If so, only one of the three formidable Democrats currently in the running may survive past the March primary and emerge as the heavy favorite in the face-off against Garvey.
So, is this at all possible? A September Berkeley IGS poll had Schiff leading with 20 percent support among likely voters. Democratic Rep. Katie Porter was closed behind with 17 percent support. Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee had just seven percent support, putting her below Republican candidate James Bradley.
This is a fiercely contested primary among Democrats, and polls have consistently showed Schiff and Porter all but tied. Neither has broken more than 20 percent. Maybe Garvey could nudge out one of them and make it to the general. That’s still not a cause for alarm or any reason for, say, Lee to drop out and endorse early. It’s a presidential year. Joe Biden is on the ballot and a Democratic candidate will prevail.
There’s still the uncertain scenario where sitting Sen. Laphonza Butler decides to run. I personally find it unlikely, but if that happens, the party will probably support her, despite any bruised feelings.
As for Garvey, he has an adorable, absolutely not made up story about what inspired him to run. It wasn’t the party leaders and donors who’ve courted him for months. No, it was a Giants fan who approached him and said, “Garvey, I hate the Dodgers, but I’ll vote for you.”
“In those 20 years that I played for the Dodgers and the Padres, played up in cold Candlestick Park, I never played for Democrats or Republicans or independents,” Garvey told the Times. “I played for all the fans, and I’m running for all the people.”
That’s sweet, but we’re obviously not dumb enough to believe it. I’m no sports fan but I recognize the political jersey he’s wearing.
Subscribe to his YouTube channel for more fun content.
Catch SER on his podcast, The Play Typer Guy.