After months of speculation, former Major League Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey makes it official, telling Inside California Politics he is entering the U.S. Senate race as a Republican.
His announcement comes 10 days after the death of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who held the seat since the early 90s. As her replacement, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler.
Garvey, 74, is a 17-year MLB veteran who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, winning MLB’s National League “Most Valuable Player” award in 1974 as a member of the Dodgers.
In a Berkeley IGS Poll from early September, when he had yet to join the race, he garnered around 7% of respondents’ votes, as much as James P. Bradley, another Republican candidate, and Rep. Barbara Lee, one of three leading Democratic candidates for the seat.
Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Katie Porter, both Democrats, are also running.
The death of Feinstein has also led to a special election for the Senate seat, which will be on voter ballots in the California primary on March 5, 2024, and in the general election on Nov. 5, 2024.
Butler’s appointment to the Senate only allows her to serve until voters make their choice on election day in November 2024. The special election will determine who serves in the seat from shortly after election day until the new Congress is sworn in in early January 2025.
The general election will determine who serves as U.S. Senator for the full term that begins that same January.
The last time California voters elected a Republican U.S. Senator was in 1988.