Schiff’s latest ad boosts Republican Senate rival Steve Garvey. Rep. Katie Porter hates it

(Los Angeles Times)

Schiff’s latest ad boosts Republican Senate rival Steve Garvey. Rep. Katie Porter hates it

California Politics, 2024 Elections

Ziema Mehta
Benjamin Oresces

February 1, 2024

Republican Senate candidate and former baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is getting a campaign boost from an unlikely source, Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a top rival in the race for the seat once held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Schiff’s campaign released a new ad depicting Garvey, a long-deemed political newcomer

race to win the coveted seat, as his closest rival in a close 2024 Senate race with two other top Democrats: Reps. Katie Porter of Irvine and Barbara Lee of Oakland.

‘Two leading candidates for the Senate. Two very different visions for California,” a narrator says


later noting that Garvey is “too conservative for California” and voted in favor


Trump twice.

While the message will turn off Democratic voters in the state, it could broaden the former baseball player’s appeal to Republican voters, as intended, according to two political strategists.

“It’s pretty clear that Schiff is trying to shore up Garvey’s credibility as his opponent in the runoff, after which Schiff can take the rest of the summer off,” said Democratic political consultant Garry South, who led the administration. Gray Davis’s successful 2002 re-election campaign.

Because of Democrats’ overwhelming lead in voter registration in the state and California’s open primary system, in which the two candidates who receive the most votes in the March 5 primary regardless of party advance to the November general election, is the Senate race in effect if Schiff and a Republican take the top positions on March 5.

Porter, who is competing with Schiff to win a spot in the general election, criticized the ad as a political ploy.

“Adam Schiff knows he’s going to lose to me in November. That’s what this blatantly cynical ad is about, about advancing his own political career, excluding qualified Democratic female candidates and encouraging a Republican candidate to do so .” she wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. ‘We need honest leadership, not political games.

Schiff’s campaign argued that voters should know about Garvey’s record given his recent rise in the polls. In the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies

poll, which was co-sponsored by The Times, placed Garvey in third place with support from 13% of likely voters. He trailed Porter and Schiff, who had 17% and 21% support, respectively.

“Steve Garvey will stamp Donald Trump’s extreme agenda if he is elected,” said Schiff spokesperson Marisol Samayoa. “California voters deserve to know the differences between the two top candidates.


Similar efforts have been used successfully in previous California campaigns, including during the 2018 governor’s race. Democrat Gavin Newsom’s campaign boosted little-known Republican John Cox’s governorship bid by ostensibly criticizing him for his support of Trump and his

pro-life anti-abortion


in an advertisement.

Republican voters rallied behind Cox and gave the

businessman businessman

a strong enough finish in the primaries to defeat Democrat and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and finish second

against Newsom in the November election. Newsom trumped Cox in that election.

Mike Madrid, a GOP strategist who worked on Villaraigosa’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign, called the Schiff campaign ad a “smart move. The best way we have in this top two primary system in California is to put one Republican forward to fetch.”

He expected the move to be successful in boxing Porter and Lee out of the race.

“What’s happening more and more is that the Republican becomes just a pawn in the Democratic primaries to checkmate the person in second place,” Madrid said. “That’s what happened to Antonio, and it seems to be happening to Porter and Lee right now.”


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