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Republican Steve Garvey’s remarkable rise to top of California poll

Latest University of California, Berkeley Institute of Government With just days left in the U.S. Senate primary, a poll co-sponsored by The Times shows Republican Steve Garvey with a slight lead.

Polls show a surprising increase in support for the former Dodger in a race between three prominent Democrats: Adam B. Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee.

This is the latest sign that Garvey could win one of two spots in the general election, which remains favorable to Democratic candidates.

How did Garvey get here? Below is the explanation from the Times page.

Primary: It was good for Garvey.

Garvey is supported by 27% of voters, Schiff by 25% and Porter by 19%. Lee (D-Oakland) received 8% of the vote, but 12% of voters chose another candidate and 9% were undecided.

Effectively, Garvey and Schiff are tied because their difference is within the poll's margin of error.

General Election: Good result for Schiff

In heavily Democratic California, Mr. Schiff (D-Burbank) will be the overwhelming favorite to defeat Mr. Garvey. According to the poll, Schiff starts the two-way race with a wide lead, 53% to 38%, with 9% undecided. By contrast, Schiff and Porter (D-Irvine) started the general election tied, with polls showing four in 10 voters are undecided.

Garvey surge

In a deep blue state like California, it may seem surprising that Republicans could take control in the primaries. However, this is unusual. The Democratic primary is highly competitive, with Mr. Porter and Mr. Schiff being major figures in the party and Mr. Lee a popular figure on the left. In other words, they are splitting the Democratic vote in deep blue states.

Early polls showed Mr. Garvey not doing very well. But recent polls show his approval rating has soared as he has become more well-known, especially among Republicans.

why? Mr. Garvey's campaign had spent just $1.4 million through mid-February, a fraction of what Mr. Schiff and Mr. Porter had raised.

However, Garvey got help from Schiff.

Photos of two men and one woman

Congressman Adam B. Schiff (left), former Dodgers star Steve Garvey, and Congresswoman Katie Porter.

(Los Angeles Times)

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Mr. Schiff has spent more than $25 million on television ads, much of it framing the contest as a two-candidate race between him and Mr. Garvey. An outside group of Mr. Schiff's allies also spent about $10 million more on similar efforts.

“Two strong Senate candidates. Two very different visions of California,” the narrator exclaims, later saying that Garvey is “too conservative for California” and twice voted for Donald Trump. It pointed out.

Times political reporter Benjamin Oreskes explained this strategy: “This message will antagonize Democratic voters in the state, but two political strategists say it may increase the former baseball player's appeal to Republican voters, as it is designed to do.” do not have.”

Congressman Adam B. Schiff.

Congressman Adam B. Schiff.

(Jacqueline Martin/Associated Press)

Porter criticized Schiff's tactics. “We need honest leadership, not political gamesmanship,” she said.

But political experts were not surprised.

As Times columnist Mark Z. Balabak put it: Mr. Schiff hopes to secure his Senate seat in the March 5 primary by pushing his weakest opponent, Mr. Garvey, to a November runoff. impudent? of course. Is it cynical or anti-democratic, as some critics claim? Not a bit. …This is politics, after all. It's not a patty cake. ”

Voter turnout

Another factor that could help Garvey on Tuesday is expected low turnout. Following the return of mail-in ballots, political consultants are predicting the outcome of Tuesday's primary. Voter turnout will be low, but Voters are significantly older, whiter and more Republican than the state's electorate overall.

reading list

The Times Voter Guide

California Senate Election Guide: The race to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein

A guide to California Senate candidates' views on housing and homelessness.

A Climate Voter’s Guide to California Senate Elections

Endorsement (opinion) of the Times Editorial Board

More information: Senate candidates

Long before Adam Schiff faced off against Trump, his tough pursuit of justice defined his career.

From working with the Black Panthers to calling for a ceasefire, Barbara Lee stands by her beliefs

How Katie Porter is using her outspoken style and single mother experience on her Senate campaign

Steve Garvey is touting “family values” in his Senate race.Some of his children tell a different story

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