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U.S. senate primaries give insight on November election

LEFT: Garvey making a speech at a celebrity sports event in 2016. RIGHT: Schiff speaking at the California Democratic Party Convention in 2019.

As the U.S. Senate primary elections conclude, the two advancing candidates will proceed to the general elections on Nov. 5, 2024, including the presidential election. There are two senators per state who serve six year terms, and elections are stagnated so that one–third of Senate seats are up for election every two years. 

In California, one seat is up for election – currently held by Senator Laphonza Butler after the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein – and both candidates will continue to campaign until the election. Democratic candidate Adam Schiff will be in defense of the Democratic Party’s current seat occupation, while Republican candidate Steven Garvey will compete for Republican representation.

“The [Senate] elections are very important because the Senate is divided along a pretty razor thin line at the moment between Democrats and Republicans,” said James Wyllie, U.S. History Honors and World History CP teacher. “The results of this Senate race could theoretically strengthen the Democratic hold or have Republicans make grounds and take over the Senate especially with the presidential election as well.”

In California, there is a “jungle” primary, meaning the top two candidates regardless of party can advance to the congressional senate election, a rule which varies by state. However, both Senate seats of each state can be held by either party and can affect state legislation as well as its relationship with the presidential administration.

“If, for example, the Republicans win the presidency and then also are able to secure the Senate, that would give them pretty good control over politics in this country,” said Wyllie. “However, if a president or their party loses control of the House and Senate, they can often be kind of paralyzed and not able to get a lot done.”

Schiff, who ranked first in primary votes, is currently a U.S. Representative for California whose campaign included Senate plans of affordability, housing and homelessness and environmental issues, according to Garvey, ranking second, is a former Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers whose campaign is centered on quality–of–life issues, public safety and education, according to

“Whichever senator we vote in is going to represent our concerns on the national level,” said Irene Kang ‘25. “This is a big deal, and more people need to realize that their concerns will only be addressed if they make the effort to vote in people who will properly convey our thoughts.”

One of the most discussed and controversial topics regarding the Senate is whether the senators should have term limits, due to senators like Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley being able to hold a seat since 1981 after seven reelections at 90 years old. However, some oppose term limits for being unrealistic or detrimental.

“You can argue that it’s undemocratic, and people have the right to vote someone over and over,” said Lynch. “Also, the only group that can dictate a term limit is Congress through the amendment process, meaning you would have to have three–fourths [of Congress] approve to limit their own jobs.” 

While the topic of term limits has been a reoccurring issue, people within both political parties feel varied opinions on whether it would assist or harm the government. Many citizens believe that term limits will help give new and fresh perspectives to the Senate.

“Oftentimes, once you’ve been in the Senate, you know how the game works, [and] you’re able to amass a lot of influence that helps you get reelected in the future,” said Wyllie. “I believe having term limits is a wise course of action, and I think most Americans agree with that.”

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About the Contributor
Laura Teegarden
Laura Teegarden, Feature Section editor
Hi! My name is Laura Teegarden and I am the Feature Section Editor on The Arrow. I have been o the staff for two years, and I joined the newspaper because I was interested in writing stories about what is happening at our school and in the world. Other than the newspaper, I am also on the varsity swim team and love to swim. 
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