Schiff, Garvey head for November Senate runoff

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey will meet in November, in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat long held by the late Dianne Feinstein. "Now it’s a different race," said David McCuan, political science professor at Sonoma State University. "Essentially Adam Schiff could run Steve Garvey’s campaign in the top two primary system. Now, Steve Garvey has to find his own voice." 

The two men emerged form a crowded field in the most expensive Senate race in state history. Schiff spent millions of dollars for ads elevating Garvey’s campaign, much to the frustration of Democrats Katie Porter and Barbara Lee. "Remember that old saying, be careful what you wish for?" said Garvey during his victory speech on election night. "He’s like the pitcher that throws me a 70 mile an hour fastball and watches me run around the bases."

Garvey’s team is aware of the challenges ahead. The last time a Republican’s been elected to the U.S. Senate from California was in 1988. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one. He’ll continue to be asked if he supports former President Donald Trump and for more specifics on his policy goals. "He’s going to have to find a place to do more than slap a couple of singles," said McCuan. "He’s going to have to bang one off the wall. Let’s see if he can do that."

One challenge facing Schiff was evident at his victory party. Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted most of his speech. Schiff has stood lockstep with the Biden administration’s position in Israel and Gaza. The protestors shouted for an immediate cease-fire, something progressive Barbara Lee continues to call for. "Adam Schiff ironically needs the two women that he beat up on or virtually ignored this particular primary and they could provide political cover for him," said McCuan. "Why would they?"

No matter who wins this race in November, California will not have a female senator for the first time since 1992, the year Feinstein first won. "A function of who the donors get behind early," said Aimee Allison, founder of "She The People," a political network for women of color. "It’s a function of the consulting class, and all those things really did their work to keep Barbara Lee and Katie Porter out of the general election." 

Allison says Schiff and national Democrats need to work to reach women and rebuild a diverse election ahead of the general. "If we go back to 2020, it was women of color not only in California, but across the country that were the margin of victory for Democrats," said Allison. "If you shut them out now, Democrats can’t win."