- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
It’s been a good three months since retired Major League Baseball great Steve Garvey let it be known that he was considering a run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat.
He told The New York Times he expected to make decision in a few weeks — but no announcement followed.
After that much time, you might assume Garvey had lost interest.
You would be wrong.
“Steve is seriously considering entering this race and speaking directly with voters on the issues they care most about,” Garvey’s adviser, Andy Gharakhani wrote in an email Wednesday.
If he does run, the retired Dodger first baseman would instantly become one of the most recognizable candidates of 2024, not just in California, but also in the entire country.
Whether that translates into votes is another story.
It would be tough — if not impossible — for any Republican to win a Senate seat in deep blue California, where Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 2-to-1.
It is conceivable, though, that Garvey could survive the March primary and wind up on the November ballot. (In California, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of political party.)
That would breathe some life into California’s flailing Republican Party and would give Garvey a platform for his views on issues like crime and taxes.
It also would make the primary even more critical for the three Democrats hoping to replace Feinstein if there’s a chance that only one of them would make it to run-off.
What the survey shows
Garvey’s adviser pointed to a recent L.A. Times/Berkeley poll as a positive sign.
“The fact that a non-candidate who has never previously run for office performs so well on a statewide survey is evidence of the transformational impact he will have on the dynamics of the U.S. Senate race, should he decide to run,” Gharakhani wrote.
Not everyone sees it that way.
IGS Poll Director Mark De Camillo said the results showed Garvey “is just not much of a factor.”
The former MVP polled at 7%, tying Democratic candidate Rep. Barbara Lee and Republican James Bradley. Another Republican candidate, Eric Early, was at 5%.
The clear frontrunners were Rep. Adam Schiff at 20% and Rep. Katie Porter, 17%.
Garvey could move up if enough Republicans and moderates coalesced around him or if one or both of the other Republican candidates were to drop out.
“If there were fewer of them, their chances would improve,” said De Camillo.
The celebrity factor
There’s no question that a Garvey candidacy would add some star power and draw more national attention to the race.
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, even non-sports people knew who Steve Garvey was, especially in Southern California where he played for the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
Mr. Clean — the nickname the non-smoker, non-drinker earned during his baseball career — led the Dodgers to a World Series title in 1981, was a 10-time all-star and won numerous MVP awards. He was recently ranked the 15th greatest Dodger of all time by L.A. Times readers. (The No. 1 Dodger has yet to be announced, in case you’re wondering.)
As a Senate candidate, he would have a few strikes against him, in addition to his political ideology.
Age is one; he’s 74, and some voters are saying it’s time to look to a younger generation for leadership.
He has a much-publicized history of infidelities dating back to his days as a player.
And finally, there’s his lack of experience in politics.
But who knows? Stranger things have happened.
See: Arnold Schwarzenegger, another celebrity candidate who had zero political experience and still managed to come from out of left field to win a governorship of the most populous state in the U.S.
Besides, maybe winning really isn’t everything. Maybe it’s all about getting in the game.
What do say, Mr. Clean?