A former baseball star is joining a whole other ball game in the state that bolstered his sports career.
Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, announced Tuesday he’s entering the U.S. Senate race in California, hoping to take the seat left open by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s death earlier this month.
The 74-year-old, who has never held elected office, is running as a Republican in a state where a Senate race hasn’t turned red in 35 years.
But the baseball star seems to be using his history in the state to give him a boost, with nods to his 14-season career with the Dodgers and five-season career with the Padres filling out his campaign video.
“I played in front of millions of fans. I never played for Democrats. I never played for Republicans or Independents. I played for all of you,” Garvey said in the video. “Now I’m running for U.S. Senate in California, a state that I believe at one time was the heartbeat of America and now is just a murmur.”
Garvey started his career in baseball as a first baseman for the Dodgers in 1969, where he was crowned the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1974 and helped lead the team to a World Series win. He then played for the Padres until he retired in 1987, pushing them to a World Series in 1984.
On top of his name having some potential recognition boost for voters, he’s hoping his “common sense” campaign strategy could strike a chord with some voters to beat out the competition.
Garvey’s campaign website outlines his top goals as getting “government out of the way” for small businesses, addressing “underlying causes of homelessness,” national security, “enforc[ing] our laws” for public safety,” tackling “out-of-control inflation” and fostering “first-class” education.
And in a surprise turn from a Republican, particularly one who voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Garvey said he wouldn’t support a federal abortion ban.
Despite his differing stances from peers in the blue state, Garvey is still entering a crowded race for the open seat, with Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter already running, and the potential of another candidate in newly sworn-in Sen. Laphonza Butler, whom California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed to fill the early vacancy left by Feinstein.
Republican attorney Eric Early, who has had unsuccessful runs for state attorney general and Congress, is also in the mix.
And due to California’s unusual electoral system, which allows the top two candidates in the first round of voting to advance regardless of their affiliation, two of his competitors could beat him out of the primary if he ranks third overall. Both the 2016 and 2018 Senate races saw two Democrats advance from those votes.
Some of his competitors issued statements following his Tuesday announcement, with Lee calling him a “pro-Trump, anti-choice” extremist who is wrong for the “progressive” state and Schiff casting him as a baseball player turned “multi-millionaire Republican celebrity.”