Adam Schiff Wins California Senate Primary With Republican Steve Garvey Heading To Runoff

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California won his state’s jungle primary on Super Tuesday for the 2024 Senate election, while Republican candidate and former major league baseball player Steve Garvey earned a spot in the runoff after coming second, according to multiple reports.

Schiff, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2001, gained widespread attention in 2019 for his chairing of the House Intelligence Committee and leadership of the first impeachment proceedings into then-President Donald Trump, who labeled him “pencil neck” and “Shifty Schiff” among other invectives. Schiff, the frontrunner in the race for the Senate seat vacated by the late Dianne Feinstein, won the primary with approximately 38% of the vote as of Tuesday night, while Garvey beat Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California to come second — setting up a general election contest between the two men. (RELATED: New Poll Finds Steve Garvey Topping Adam Schiff, Dem Field In California’s Open Senate Primary)

“My opponent @SteveyGarvey6  went from playing first base to playing politics in far, far-right field,” wrote Schiff, before election day. “Californians deserve a Senator who’s going to fight for them — not just parrot MAGA talking points.”

In California, all candidates in non-presidential elections appear on a single primary ballot, regardless of party, with the two-highest-ranked candidates advancing to the general election — known as a “jungle primary” system. This means that only Schiff and Garvey will appear on the general election ballot in November, with Schiff being highly favored to win the seat due to California’s heavy Democratic lean, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of D+13.

Schiff was removed from the House Intelligence Committee on Jan. 25, 2023, and censured by the Republican-led House on June 21, 2023, for his involvement in the impeachment inquiry. The Republican attacks amid his candidacy in California were described as a “gift” to his campaign.

Garvey’s achieving the second spot in the general election is an upset over Porter, who led him in most polls until recently and was long considered Schiff’s primary opponent. A third Democratic candidate, Rep. Barbara Lee, finished fourth in the race.

Garvey, age 75, played for the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball between 1969 and 1987, winning the World Series in 1981 and being adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1974. His campaign platform focuses on homelessness, crime and border security.

“As members of Congress, my opponents can introduce legislation at any time. They failed to solve our immigration crisis and it’s only gotten worse on their watch,” Garvey wrote on Twitter on Feb. 29. “The Latino community can’t trust them, whereas they will be my priority.”

Schiff and Garvey will be running in two Senate elections: a special election for the remainder of Feinstein’s term and a general election for a full six-year Senate term, ending in 2031. The winner of the special election will take office shortly after the vote on Nov. 5, giving them seniority over senators entering office in the 119th Congress.

The primary contest in California was one of the most expensive election races in the country, with Democratic candidates raising nearly $50 million for their campaigns against each other. California, the largest state in the country by population, has among the most expensive media markets in the country, making political advertising expensive.

Feinstein’s immediate successor, Democratic Sen. LaPhonza Butler of California, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 1, 2023, declined to run for a full term.

Schiff and Garvey’s campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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