Three Democrats and one Republican walk on to a stage. How well will they get along?
It is one of many key things to watch at tonight’s U.S. Senate debate in Los Angeles — the first time top contenders Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff and former baseball star Steve Garvey face off in a televised debate.
Garvey, a first-time candidate, has run a low-key campaign since announcing his bid in October but ranks near the top of several recent polls. The event will be his first political debate — a chance to elevate his campaign message as a moderate Republican to a statewide audience.
But the debate could also be a risk for Garvey, who has little political experience and may not be able to handle other candidates’ pressure on his policy stances, said Christian Grose, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Southern California. It is difficult, however, to predict how Garvey will do, he said.
Grose: “He’s a little bit of a black box.”
The three Democratic members of Congress — holding similar positions on many issues despite having nuanced track records — will continue to try distinguishing themselves from each other to appeal to undecided voters. The Democratic hopefuls have largely refrained from attacking each other at joint appearances so far. But with ballots going out on Feb. 5 for the March 5 primary and Garvey rising in the polls, that could change.
Porter and Lee, who are behind Garvey in recent polls, could promote themselves as true progressives and attack Schiff on his ties to the Democratic establishment and his relatively moderate voting record, Grose said.
But the three representatives may still be reluctant to target each other, said Democratic political consultant Andrew Acosta.
Acosta: “If Schiff hits Porter, is he going to guarantee that those votes go to him? Or do they go to Barbara Lee?”
Schiff could also target Garvey’s inexperience and past votes for former President Donald Trump as a way to promote Garvey to Republican voters as the opponent, so Schiff can have an easy win in November without having to face another Democrat, some strategists and experts told CalMatters.
Or Schiff could also leave Garvey alone in hopes he does well in the debate and gains traction. No Republican has won statewide in California since 2006.
The debate is an opportunity for all four candidates to gain free media exposure. And if Garvey does well, he could consolidate the Republican vote, experts say. In the primary, the two leading vote-getters, no matter their party, advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Jessica Millan Patterson, chairperson of the California Republican Party, said Garvey’s lack of experience may be his strong suit.
Patterson: “I think that a lot of people are looking for someone who is fresh, someone who can be a consensus builder, someone who’s going to go to Washington, D.C., and fight for them.”
To watch the debate: It’s from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will air live on FOX 11 in Los Angeles and KTVU in the San Francisco Bay Area. Politico will livestream it.
And to learn more about where the candidates stand, read this detailed story.
- CalMatters: Gavin Newsom’s new budget is already leaking red ink as revenues fall behindCalMatter:By Dan Walterscover photo: Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses the media during a press conference unveiling his 2024-25 January budget proposal at the Secretary of State Auditorium in Sacramento on Jan. 10, 2024. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr. While Gov. Gavin Newsom gallivants around the country as a campaign surrogate for President Joe… Read more: CalMatters: Gavin Newsom’s new budget is already leaking red ink as revenues fall behindCalMatter:
- California voters will decide on Newsom’s mental health overhaul. How did we get here?Reprint: CalMatters By Jocelyn Wiener Fallout from our state’s long history of breaking promises to people with serious mental illness is everywhere. It can be found under our overpasses and in our tent encampments, but also inside our jails and prisons, our emergency rooms, our schools, our homes. It flashes across our public opinion polls,… Read more: California voters will decide on Newsom’s mental health overhaul. How did we get here?
- CalMatters: Budget blues at the CapitolReprint: CalMatterscover photo: Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas speaks during a floor session at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Jan. 22, 2024. Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters In summary The Legislative Analyst’s Office projects the 2024-25 shortfall at $73 billion, putting more pressure on legislators and the governor to find savings. The biggest challenge… Read more: CalMatters: Budget blues at the Capitol
- OPINION: blatant in our face election interferencesuggest we push back with Judicial Watch and/or any other form we can place our hands on. This is a blatant in our face election interference which will be felt outside the city of San Fransico. A few of the decision made at the local level influenced by a commissioner are: City of San Fransico… Read more: OPINION: blatant in our face election interference
- Obituary: H.D. “Dick” SumnerH.D. “Dick” Sumner Obituary Dr. H.D. “Dick” Sumner passed away, peacefully, in his home on February 17, 2024, at the age of 92. Dick was born on July 21, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child to Dr. Irving Emerson & Erna Margaret Sumner. They relocated to Carmel, California where he spent most of… Read more: Obituary: H.D. “Dick” Sumner