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Adam Schiff’s Victory Speech Hijacked By Anti-Gaza War Protesters; Republican Steve Garvey Locks In Second Place For CA Senate Run-Off In November – Update

(Updated with more results & Super Tuesday details) The Congressman from Hollywood is one big step closer to becoming the Golden State’s junior Senator, but saw up-close this Super Tuesday some of the visceral challenges Democrats face from their own base.

In the double header that is California’s primary this Super Tuesday, Adam Schiff secured the top spot with just under 40% of the vote in. NBC News and the Associated Press called it for Schiff just over 30 minutes after the polls closed in the nation’s most populous state.

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Not that the night was all balloon drops and victory dances for the veteran Congressman.

Dozens of protesters chanting “ceasefire now” over the worsening situation in Gaza made it near impossible for Schiff to get though his speech to supporters at Avalon on LA’s Vine Street.

As security attempted to remove the protesters, Schiff at first tried to make their presence a sign of democracy’s strength, but their sheer numbers overwhelmed the Congressman and his Hollywood victory party. Likely forcing a shorter speech than the gregarious politician intended, the incursion by the protesters exemplifies the backlash that Democrats — from President Joe Biden to down ticket races — face as an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains elusive.

Protesters disrupt Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) as he speaks during his primary election night partty at The Avalon in LA // Credit: Getty
Protesters disrupt Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) as he speaks during his primary election night partty at The Avalon in LA // Credit: Getty

Representing Burbank for over 20 years, Schiff is running for the seat that the late Dianne Feinstein held since 1992 until her death last September. With his district encompassing Disney, Warner Bros. and more, cable news regular Schiff has garnered support in the race from high profile fans such as Nancy Pelosi, Jon Hamm, ex-Senator Barbara Boxer and Billy Crystal.

For a while it looked like the battle zone would shift to second place race. Would Schiff face fellow Democrat Kate Porter or Republican Steve Garvey in November? That dust-up didn’t last very long if the eventual results bear out the trajectory we’re seeing so far.

“Welcome to the California comeback,” Garvey told his supporters as his lead over Porter proved insurmountable. “We haven’t come this far to only go this far,” he added in a speech that sounded very Ronald Reagan. Hell, Garvey even mentioned a 1984 Dodgers game in his remarks.

In a low turn-out day, Schiff snagged 37% of the vote, while political novice Garvey took 29% to three-term Orange County Congresswoman Porter’s 15%. Beloved Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who many thought Gov. Gavin Newsom would appoint to serve out the remainder of Feinstein’s term, is in a far fourth with 7% of the votes tallied.

Under the jungle primary rules in California, where all candidates for elected office run in the same primary no matter their political party and the top two vote-winners move forward, Schiff has strategically worked almost harder for Garvey than the ex-Dodger player did for himself.

On a not-so Super Tuesday that saw Joe Biden and Donald Trump hoover up delegates in their respective long marches towards the GOP and Democrats conventions this summer, Garvey coming in second place allows Schiff to sidestep the bloody Blue State civil war that would surely emerge if Porter was his November rival.

In a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to state office in decades, another benefit for longtime Congressman Schiff in a race against Garvey is the cost savings.

A big fundraiser, the former lead House Manager in the first Senate impeachment trial of the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host will save millions not just from his own coffers but from the accounts of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. With California as close to a sure thing as you can get in American politics, the DSCC can allocate funds to closer races like Montana incumbent Jon Tester.

Aside from the Senate race, the bid for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and Gov. Newsom’s mental heath and homelessness-focused Proposition 1 are also possible game changers in the Golden State.

George Gascón, Los Angeles City Hall
George Gascón, Los Angeles City Hall

Having beaten back two recall efforts since his 2020 victory, current L.A. DA George Gascón is up against 11 challengers this election, five of whom are from his own office. The most recent results have Gascón with 23% to 18% for Nathan Hoffman. The largest fundraiser in the DA race, former federal prosecutor Hoffman was unsuccessful in his 2022 bid to be the Republican nominee for California Attorney General. With two very different views of reform, the role of the DA, plus an inability to even agree on whether crime is rising or declining in the nation’s largest county, Gascón and Hoffman will go at it again in November.

There is a bit of déjà vu  to their race.

Funded by big donations from Netflix founder Reed Hastings and other Hollywood luminaries, former San Francisco DA and ex-LAPD officer Gascón took down incumbent Jackie Lacey in a bitter and close 2020 face off.

Backed by a bipartisan support in Sacramento and with a big push from Gov. Newsom, Proposition 1 is the only statewide measure on the ballot this year. A mix of two bills passed by the legislature, the Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure, as it is formally known, would authorize the state to raise over $6 billion in bonds for housing for those living on the streets. Currently holding a slight lead in the incoming results, Prop 1 also aims to create facilities for those with mental health and substance use issues.

Moving into the closing years of his tenure as Governor and facing another recall, Newsom put a lot of his political capitol on the line for Prop 1.

Not that the Biden surrogate and potential one day White House candidate could resist putting at least one foot on the national stage tonight

While the run-off races look set earlier than usual, remember that California votes often take weeks to be finalized.

Every resident of the state was sent a mail-in ballot. For those who choose to make their voice known that way, the mail-in ballot had to be postmarked by today to be valid. With that, and as long as the ballot is in by March 12, it will be counted.

California joined Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont Arkansas, Virginia, Massachusetts and Texas voting in the Republican presidential primary today. Alaska and American Samoa joined those 15 states in holding their Democratic primary races this Super Tuesday.

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