Friday, May 24, 2024







Adam Schiff counted on this back in February, when he blasted out TV commercials designed to promote former baseball all-star Steve Garvey to Republican voters just as millions of Californians were filling out mail primary election ballots:


Garvey, the GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate for the seat long occupied by the late Democrat Dianne Feinstein, looks like a green rookie as he campaigns – when he even bothers to campaign. (He didn’t bother showing up for his party’s spring state convention.)


        Not only does Garvey duck questions of many types, but when he does talk, he can look plain silly.


        One recent example came when Garvey was asked by a television host about homelessness.


        He said he’s been “stunned” as he travels the state by the extent of homelessness he’s seen.


        It’s true this is a ubiquitous and massive phenomenon that no amount of money has seemed to resolve. But it’s one that has gathered steam for many years, and you would need to look hard to find anyone in this state who has not seen at least one of the sad-looking tent cities sprouting under freeway bridges and along sidewalks in virtually all parts of California.


        To be “stunned” by this, as Garvey described himself, indicates he simply wasn’t looking as the unhoused multiplied.


        While studies have shown everything from mental illness to ever-rising rents, from drug addiction to post traumatic stress disorder has contributed to the problem, Garvey ascribed it to “a lack of oversight,” adding that “Obviously, it’s because the weather in California, it’s good.”


        Yes, it often is. But not during the torrential rains of the last two winters, which brought the misery index in homeless encampments to unprecedented levels.


        The homelessness issue is but one that Garvey views simplistically, figuring an audit “will get to the bottom of this.”


        As he spoke, Garvey’s lack of exposure to a phenomenon that most Californians have watched grow for decades became obvious. He also has said little or nothing about rapidly rising utility rates and other aspects of inflation, nor offered solutions to any other California problems. He says he’s pro-life, but would not vote to restrict abortion rights, and pledges to fight “out-of-control inflation,” but gives no indication of how he might do this.


        It would be difficult to find a candidate proffering fewer specifics, and while Schiff struggled to keep a straight face during the primary season’s candidate debates, there were times it was plainly difficult for him to seem anything but eager to run against Garvey.


        All that’s without much mention so far in the campaign of either Garvey’s admitted past marital infidelities or his back taxes.


        But there likely will be little mercy from Schiff once the fall campaign begins. With at least three times as much cash on hand as Garvey entering the summer, count on a barrage of Schiff advertising centered on early and mid-October, when mail ballots for the November general election will reach most California mailboxes.



        Schiff advertised heavily against Garvey last winter, calling him a devoted MAGA Republican in ads that seemed to blast him, but actually made him more attractive to Republican voters.


        The purpose was to knock Democratic Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter out of the runoff, and it worked. Porter finished a distant third after gambling her career on getting a top-two primary finish and a chance to contest Schiff. Instead, she’s serving out her third term in the House and headed back to teaching law.


        But the Schiff ads against Garvey will surely become more biting in the fall. They may show the ex-slugger with the Popeye-like biceps shyly avoiding answering questions every other candidate in the winter debates handled easily.


        For sure, Schiff will be no softer on him than he was when leading two impeachments of former President Donald Trump.


        So far, Garvey lacks not only the money to seriously contest Schiff, but the depth of knowledge about the state that Schiff absorbed while in the Legislature and Congress.


        Schiff wanted a sure thing when he placed the ads that let Garvey beat out Porter. Barring a remarkable comeback, that’s what he’s got.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


Suggested pull-out quote: “Schiff’s ads made Garvey more attractive to Republicans."

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