Steve Garvey trails Democrats in fundraising for California’s Senate race

Who could replace the late California Senator Feinstein in the 2024 elections? Clockwise, from top left: Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter, former Los Angeles Dodger Steve Garvey and Rep. Barbara Lee.
(Los Angeles Times)

Steve Garvey trails Democrats in fundraising for California’s Senate race

Laura J. Nelson

February 1, 2024

In California’s battle for a rare open seat in the U.S. Senate, former baseball player and Republican candidate Steve Garvey has raised far less money than his Democratic rivals, federal filings show.

Campaign finance reports made public Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission show that Garvey, who played first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, raised about $610,000 last year from about 4,500 donors and political action committees.

The numbers are the first glimpse of the scale of Garvey’s campaign, which launched in October

much later than his top Democratic rivals in the race.

Garvey raised less money than the “substantial funds raised over the years through the Washington DC establishment by the career politicians in this race,” campaign spokesman Matt Shupe said. But, he said, things appear to be improving: In January, Garvey’s campaign raised more than in all of 2023.

Fundraising numbers are used as a measure of a candidate’s viability for statewide office in California, home to some of the nation’s most expensive media markets.

A statewide advertising campaign is vital for any candidate hoping to win over a significant number of California’s 22 million registered voters. In the Los Angeles media market alone, airing an effective television advertising campaign can cost millions of dollars per week.

Representative Adam


Schiff (D-Burbank) entered 2024 with

almost $35 million

at hand, more than all his opponents combined, the documents show. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Schiff’s campaign raised

almost $5.7 million

from individual donors and more


of political action committees.

Schiff invested his considerable war chest and added


to its fundraising total through interest payments


show files. His campaign said 95% of contributions were less than $100, with an average donation of $32.

Campaign manager Brad Elkins said Schiff’s fundraising numbers show that Californians “recognize Adam as the champion they need in the U.S. Senate to tackle the cost of living, defend our democracy and fight for an economy that works for everyone.” “

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) closed out 2023 with

$13.2 million

at hand and up

almost $3 million

in the last quarter of the year, about half of Schiff’s total, her files show. She reported the expenses

$1.7 million

from October to December.

Schiff came into the Senate race with a big advantage: Although he and Porter are among the House’s most successful fundraisers, Porter spent $29 million last year to defend her House seat in Orange County, while Schiff was running for re-election in his Los Angeles home and Burbank district. He invested much of the money he raised and used it for his Senate campaign.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) raised

just over $1 million

in the last quarter of the year, her campaign files show. The campaign reported $1 million in contributions from individual donors

$1.5 million

of expenditure over the same period. The campaign ended the year with

approximately $816,000

at hand.

Republican attorney Eric Early reported raising more than $115,000 from individual donors from October to December. He contributed


of his own money, and


in personal loans, and ended 2023 with

approximately $140,000

at hand.

Christina Pascucci, a Los Angeles TV journalist running as a Democrat, reported an increase

over $375,000

from October to December, entering 2024 with


at hand.

California’s “jungle” primary system means the two candidates who receive the most votes in the March 5 primary will advance to the November 5 general election, regardless of political party.

If the top two vote-getters are both Democrats, the race through November will likely be competitive and expensive. That’s less likely to be the case if a Republican finishes in the top two, because California’s progressive politics will give a strong lead to their Democratic challenger.

No Republican has won a statewide election since 2006.


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