Steve Garvey, a perennial baseball All-Star in the 1970s and 1980s for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, said on Friday that he was weighing a run for the United States Senate in California as a Republican.
He would give the G.O.P. a celebrity name in the high-profile race to replace Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, a Democrat, who is the chamber’s oldest member and is retiring at the end of her term. She has recently struggled with health problems that have prompted calls from some fellow Democrats for her to retire sooner.
In heavily Democratic California, the race has drawn tepid interest from Republicans. Only lesser-known candidates have jumped in.
California hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1988, and a host of prominent Democrats are waiting in the wings, including Representatives Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee.
Mr. Garvey, 74, one of the most prolific hitters in baseball before steroids tainted the sport’s record books, said in an interview that he expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. He noted the difficulty of building out a campaign operation.
“You can imagine, it’s like getting an expansion franchise,” he said, using a sports analogy. “It’s a daunting task in California.”
Mr. Garvey would be a long shot, but his entrance in the race could scramble the primary. Under the state’s system, the first- and second-place finishers advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Democrats are so dominant in the state that they are widely expected to win both slots and compete against each other in the general. Having a Republican candidate with some name recognition could make that harder.
Being in the public eye has sometimes brought Mr. Garvey unwanted attention. Although he cultivated a reputation for avoiding vices and philandering as a player, shortly after leaving the game he acknowledged he had fathered children by two different women, shortly before marrying a third.
When asked on Friday how he felt about the glare of running for office, Mr. Garvey said that it would not discourage him.
“I probably had a pretty good spring training over the last 50 years,” he said.
Neil Vigdor covers political news for The Times. @gettinviggy • Facebook
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