Attorney Eric Early, a loyalist for former President Trump who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2020, announced Tuesday that he is running for the US Senate seat being vacated by retiring California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The Los Angeles resident, who previously worked in the entertainment industry on animated children’s shows such as “GI Joe” and “Jem and the Holograms,” said he was seeking the office to offer common-sense-conservative solutions on issues such as crime, immigration and foreign policy that he believes are not heard in the nation’s capital.
“I’m running for all the forgotten Californians, all the forgotten Americans, and that crosses party lines,” he said on KABC radio. “Frankly, there are tens of millions of people in this country and millions in California who feel that we have been left behind.”
Early didn’t offer specific policy proposals, but reeled off a laundry list of concerns about the nation’s direction, from the fentanyl crises to concerns that the nation is teetering on entering World War III because of its aid to Ukraine.
The 64-year-old has run for office multiple times, losing to the incumbent Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff in a 2020 congressional contest, and failing to advance past the primaries in the 2022 and 2018 attorney general race.
So far, 15 candidates are officially running for Feinstein’s Senate seat, according to the Federal Election Commission. The most prominent are Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of Burbank, Katie Porter of Irvine and Barbara Lee of Oakland.
But because of California’s jungle primary system, the top two vote-getters in the March primary will advance to the general election in November 2024, regardless of party. Despite the Democrats’ political dominance in California, if a Republican contender could consolidate support among GOP voters, he or she would have a good chance of finishing in the top two in the primary and facing off against the top Democrats in the November 2024 ballot.
In at least one past campaign, Democrats have touted Early’s conservative stances in hopes of elevating the candidate that they believed would be easiest to beat in a general election. In the 2022 attorney general race, supporters of Democrat Rob Bonta ran ads noting Early’s opposition to abortion rights on conservative radio stations.
Early is a vocal supporter of former President Trump, embraces some of the Republican Party’s most conservative stances, including new restrictions on abortion, and has called for outlawing critical race theory in California schools. On Tuesday, he spoke against young students learning about gender identity in schools and against allowing transgender athletes to play on the team of the gender they identify as.
“I have nothing against transgender people. Zip. Zeros. I believe in live and let live. But I don’t want our children starting in kindergarten having a full court press … about these highly sexualized issues,” Early said. “I don’t want people born as lazy, who then transition to women, to be competing in our daughters’ and women’s sports.”
While such positions may be effective in other states, they are challenging in California, where registered Democratic voters outnumber their Republican counterparts nearly 2 to 1. Republicans last won statewide office here in 2006.
Early on has also faced challenges in his own party. In the 2022 attorney general’s race, then-GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy, now House speaker, endorsed Early’s GOP rival in the race, Nathan Hochman, just before he took the stage at the California Republican Party’s spring convention. The next day, delegates voted to endorse Hochman, who advanced to the general election and lost to Democratic Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta.