Adam Schiff, Steve Garvey advance to November ballot


Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey will advance to the general election in the hotly contested California Senate race, NBC News projects.

That means Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, who also ran for the seat, will be shut out of the general election. The progressives will also vacate their House seats at the end of the term.

Under California’s rules, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

In the final stretch of the race, the battle grew ugly between Schiff and Porter, the top-polling Democrats in the race. Schiff cultivated his national profile by battling former President Donald Trump as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Porter, a populist who flipped a former GOP-held district in 2018, ran on a platform of taking on corporate power and addressing working class economic needs like the cost of child care.

Schiff, who led in many polls in the run-up to the contest, has sought to lock out Porter by running ads elevating Garvey in the hope that he will be his opponent in the fall. Schiff’s Democrats are favored to win the general election in the solidly blue state.

By facing Garvey, Schiff will avoid a contentious and expensive intraparty fight this fall. Garvey has run a bare-bones campaign.

In a recent interview with NBC News, Schiff said that if elected senator, he will have three top priorities.

“Make the economy work for people. For millions of people, they’re working harder than ever and they’re still struggling to get by. We need to bring down the cost of housing first and foremost here in California,” Schiff said in his Burbank campaign office.

“But the other two big existential threats are to our democracy and to our planet,” he continued. “And these are the issues I’ve been talking about throughout the state. The need to fight for an economy that, you know, that rewards folks who are working hard with a good quality of life and, but also save our democracy from a would-be dictator.”

The winner this fall will occupy a seat that was held for decades by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who died in September. Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Laphonza Butler to serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term.

Lee released a statement Tuesday night as the emerging returns showed her in a distant fourth place, saying she will allow “the time for every ballot cast — every voice — to be counted, and I’m looking forward to watching the results in the coming days.”

“Our campaign has always been about giving a voice to people who don’t feel heard in Washington — and I’m exceptionally proud of the grassroots, multi-ethnic, cross-generational coalition this campaign built across California to send someone who will fight for them and speak truth to power in the Senate,” Lee said.

The outcome represents a self-inflicted wound for progressives, who count Porter and Lee as members of their congressional caucus. But because both were running, the movement declined coalesce their resources behind any one candidate, splitting at least some left-leaning votes between the two.

Adam Green, a progressive activist and Porter ally, issued a statement attacking Schiff after the projection was announced.

“Adam Schiff put his own selfishness above democracy by lifting up Republican Steve Garvey, who will now turn out Trump voters in key House races that could determine control of Congress,” Green said. “Katie Porter faced a barrage of negative ads from billionaires and special interests, as Adam Schiff spent millions to prop up a pro-Trump Republican.”

Garvey, a former player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, used a baseball metaphor during his election night party to describe the next phase of the campaign.

“Keep in mind this is the first game of a doubleheader,” he said. “So keep the evening of November 5 open.”


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