California Senate race: Schiff, Garvey go into primary as frontrunners

The California Senate race will narrow down on March 5, with the top two finishers in the primary contest advancing to the November general election.

The Senate race was expected to be up for grabs among the top three Democratic candidates, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Katie Porter, but the possibility of a record-low turnout is elevating the chances of Republican Steve Garvey, a former baseball star, to emerge as one of the candidates who makes it to the ballot in November.

The relative trickle of ballots in early voting has tended to come from older, white, conservative-leaning homeowners, a sweet spot for Republicans such as Garvey, a one-time National League MVP who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

For months, Schiff has had the fundraising and polling edge in a crowded Democratic field. Garvey’s ascent has imperiled the political prospects of Lee and Porter. 


California primary election: What to know about March 5 vote

The California primary election is on March 5 and every registered voter will receive a ballot to cast their vote for governor, senator, representative, and other state and local offices and propositions.

According to the latest Emerson College Polling, Schiff is in the lead with 28% support, and Garvey, the only Republican, is second at 22%. Congresswoman Poter had 16% and Lee with 9%.

Schiff was a leading voice in the two impeachments of former President Donald Trump. Lee is a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Porter has drawn attention on social media with her sharp questioning of tech CEOs in Capitol Hill hearings.

After the death of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in September. All three entered the race. The seat is currently filled by Sen. Laphonz Butler, appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Early on, Butler said she had no desire to run for the seat. Porter is leaving her swing district in Southern California as Democrats try to regain control of the House, where Republicans now hold a slim edge.

The candidates took the stage for a final debate on Feb. 20 where they touched on the economy, immigration, foreign policy and the environment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.