From left, businessman and former Major League Baseball player Steve Garvey and U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. (Photos: Courtesy of Steve Garvey and U.S. House of Representatives Office of Photography.)

California’s US Senate candidates to meet for first debate hosted by USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

Four candidates vying for the seat previously held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein will participate in the 90-minute debate at USC on Jan. 22, co-hosted by Fox11 Los Angeles and POLITICO.
ByJim Key

Reflecting its commitment to fostering civil political discourse and engagement, the Center for the Political Future at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will co-host the first televised U.S. Senate debate in California to fill the seat vacated by the late Dianne Feinstein.

Other collaborators include California Environmental Voters Education Fund, Courage California Institute, East Bay Community Legal Center and Natural Resources Defense Council.

It’s the third major political debate hosted at USC by the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future.

Why it matters: The debate provides a vital platform for candidates to articulate their visions for California’s future, enabling voters to make informed decisions in the upcoming election. The top two primary candidates on March 5, regardless of party, will advance to the general election, which voters will decide on Nov. 5.

The details:

  • Date and Time: Jan. 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bovard Auditorium, USC’s University Park Campus
  • Co-hosts: USC Dornsife, FOX 11 Los Angeles and POLITICO
  • Broadcast:
    • Live, commercial-free on FOX 11 (KTTV) in L.A. and on Fox 2 (KTVU) in the Bay Area
    • Livestreamed on and
    • KFI-AM 640 radio in Southern California and on the iHeart Radio app
  • Tickets: Due to limited space, all general admission tickets have been allocated.

Candidates: The top four California U.S. Senate candidates participating in the debate were selected based on the results of a mid-December POLITICO Morning/Consult poll of likely primary voters.

  • Adam Schiff, U.S. Representative (D-CA)
  • Katie Porter, U.S. Representative (D-CA)
  • Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative (D-CA)
  • Steve Garvey, Republican businessman


  • Elex Michaelson: FOX 11 News co-anchor and host of California’s statewide political talk show, The Issue Is
  • Melanie Mason: Senior political reporter covering California politics for POLITICO

Go deeper: What are the primary concerns of Californians?

  • The top three issues in order of importance are: 1. jobs, the economy and inflation; 2. housing costs and affordability; 3. homelessness, according to a Public Policy Institute of California statewide survey conducted Nov. 9–16.
  • The same survey finds that an overwhelming majority of Californians believe there is a mental health crisis in the U.S.