Steve Garvey Rises To Top Of A Senate Poll Despite Running No TV Ads — And He May Have Adam Schiff To Thank For It

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) are making their final TV ads buys before Tuesday’s Senate primary, but one candidate has shot to the top of the polls without spending a dime on such spots.

In fact, according to one poll released today, former Dodgers star and Republican Steve Garvey is leading, albeit slightly, with just days to go.

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Garvey may have Schiff to thank for pumping up his prospects. According to research firm AdImpact, 60% of Schiff’s broadcast ads mention Garvey. None mention Porter.

That’s widely viewed as by design on Schiff’s part.

California has an open primary, and the top two finishers on Tuesday will advance to the general election, regardless of party. Schiff has had an enduring lead in most other polls, and by highlighting Garvey and his conservative positions, he may be helping consolidate the vote on the right. According to a number of pundits, Schiff would have a much easier time of it in the general election going up against a Republican in true blue California than he would going up against Porter, a fellow Democrat. No Republican has won statewide in California since 2006.

A Schiff-Porter race also may make the race even more expensive. According to AdImpact, the race already is the most expensive Senate campaign in state history — $65.3 million spent on ads so far. About $44.8 million has been spent on ads backing Schiff, and $18.6 million for Porter.

Garvey had just $758,260.94 on hand as of Feb. 14; Schiff had $13.7 million. Porter, who has called Schiff “cynical” for highlighting Garvey, has come out with ads that spotlight another Republican in the race, Eric Early, as “way too MAGA for California.”

Over the weekend, viewers will see a blizzard of spots, as both campaigns have been buying up time during local newscasts and other day parts. Schiff’s campaign, for example, put in an order for nearly $300,000 worth of spots on KCBS 2 in Los Angeles alone, while Porter’s campaign is spending about $60,000, according to records filed with the FCC.

While Schiff and Porter have sparred at points in recent debates, their Hollywood backers are largely staying out of the fray. Jane Fonda, in endorsing Porter, wrote on X/Twitter this week, “I admire both Rep Lee & Rep Schiff but I believe Katie Porter provides the greatest promise for a CA Senator willing to stand up to Big Oil & Gas.”

Schiff’s campaign has been tapping a stream of industry figures in fundraising pitches, the latest being Billy Crystal. “Simply put, there is no one that I trust more than Adam Schiff to protect our democracy — not to mention my firm belief that Adam will actually get things done as California’s U.S. senator.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who has been behind Schiff, Garvey and Porter in polls, has drawn the backing of figures such as John Legend. In a video, he called her “the real deal. She is a dedicated advocate for families, a steadfast proponent of affordable housing and a committed reformer of our criminal legal system.”

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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