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Steve Garvey is raising millions — and paying for it

In World
April 16, 2024

SACRAMENTO, California — Steve Garvey, the former baseball superstar turned Republican candidate, has managed to raise millions in recent weeks for his longshot bid for California’s open Senate seat — and it’s costing him.

Garvey raised $3.4 million from mid-February through the end of March, and, as federal filings show, it cost him over $1 million to do it, between digital ads, direct mail, commission costs and venue fees.

Even with his improved numbers — his best showing yet, leaving him with $1.6 million in cash — Garvey faces an incredibly steep climb to seize the seat previously held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in California since 2006, and breaking that streak would be a feat, even for a celebrity.

He also faces a major disadvantage in running against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who has millions to burn in a general election where he’s expected to glide to victory. Garvey benefited from millions of dollars in negative Schiff TV ads before the March 5 primary — a boost he’s unlikely to get in the general election.

The latest report showed Schiff bringing in $3.7 million over a six-week period that covered the weeks leading up to the primary and through March 31. He had $4.8 million in cash at the end of March.

Garvey has built his campaign around “common sense” and “consensus” while steering clear of specific policy proposals. Despite his celebrity status, he hasn’t reported any big-name endorsements or donations, instead building his war chest from small-dollar supporters — many of them out of state, from places like Florida, Arizona and Texas.

He has had to build his campaign “from the ground up,” manager Andy Gharakhani said in a statement Monday when asked about his spending on fundraising. Garvey collected an average donation of $57 from 62,000 individuals in the first quarter of 2024.

“Steve’s investment in campaign infrastructure will provide him the tools needed to win in November,” Gharakhani said.

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