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Former Padres star Steve Garvey enters race for US Senate

Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, June 29, 2019, in San Diego.
Gregory Bull
Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, June 29, 2019, in San Diego.

Former San Diego Padres first baseman Steve Garvey on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Dianne Feinstein, who died last month.

Garvey, who lives in Palm Desert and played most of his celebrated career for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will run as a Republican.

In a video announcing his run, Garvey appeared to downplay the party affiliation. California has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since Pete Wilson was reelected in 1988.


Garvey, 74, said in his campaign announcement that he played in front of millions of fans for the Dodgers and Padres.

"I never played for Democrats or 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.

"It's going to be a common-sense campaign. It's going to be difficult, but we can do this together — you and I. It's time to get off the bench. It's time to put the uniform on. It's time to get back in the game."

More than a dozen candidates have entered the race for the Senate seat, most notably some high-profile Democrats — current Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff — and Silicon Valley executive Lexi Reese. Little- known Republicans who have announced their candidacies include educator Denice Gary-Pandol and perennial candidates James Bradley and Eric Early.

Laphonza Butler, a labor leader and former head of the Emily's List political action committee, was appointed to the seat by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill out the remainder of Feinstein's current term. Butler, 44, has not indicated whether she will run for a full term in the March primary.


Garvey has never been elected to public office.

In response to Garvey's announcement, Schiff wrote on X, formerly Twitter, "Before he was a multimillionaire Republican celebrity, he was a first baseman. Based on his announcement, it sounds like he's ready to take up the fight for everyone born on third base — think they hit a triple. Go figure."

Lee issued a statement calling Garvey "a pro-Trump, anti-choice extremist" and "the wrong person to represent a progressive state like California."

"At a time when our reproductive rights are under attack and our democracy is being undermined by Trump and his MAGA extremist supporters in Congress and across the country, we need a Senator who will fight for economic, racial, and climate justice and who has the experience needed to be an effective progressive leader in the Senate," Lee said.

On his campaign website, Garvey lists top priorities of his campaign, citing education, quality of life, public safety, national security, homelessness and support for small businesses.

Garvey played for the Dodgers from 1969 through 1982. Garvey was the National League MVP in 1974 and MVP in the NL Championship Series in 1978, the second year it was awarded.

Garvey won four Gold Glove awards and shares the Dodgers' highest career fielding percentage for a first baseman, .996, with Wes Parker.

In his 12 full seasons with the Dodgers, he was an eight-time All-Star selection, starting five times, and the All-Star Game MVP in 1974 and 1978.

Garvey played the final five seasons of his major league career with the San Diego Padres, helping lead them to their first NL pennant in 1984. He retired following the 1987 season.

He collected 2,599 hits in his career, including six seasons of at least 200 hits, and hit 272 home runs with 1,308 runs batted in. He finished with a lifetime batting average of .294.