Republicans have flipped Democrat Katie Hill’s house seat red as Democrat Christy Smith has conceded to Republican Mike Garcia in a special election.
Smith posted on Facebook:
SMITH RELEASES STATEMENT ON ELECTION RESULTS
SANTA CLARITA, CA — Today, California State Assemblywoman Christy Smith released the following statement as her campaign now turns its attention to the November general election in the race for California’s 25th Congressional District.
Assemblywoman Christy Smith remarked:
“While it’s critical that we ensure every vote is counted and recorded, we believe that the current tally shows Mike Garcia is the likely victor in the May 12 special election. As such, I’d like to congratulate him.
“That said, this is only one step in this process, and I look forward to having a vigorous debate about the issues in the upcoming November 2020 election, from healthcare access to job creation, aid for working families, investments in local classrooms to wildfire protection, women’s rights and more in the months ahead.
“Most importantly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of our supporters, from our brave firefighters, nurses, grocery workers, truck drivers and so many on the frontlines to our classroom teachers, grassroots activists, women, seniors, young people and all those who played an integral role in this effort. This campaign is about you – and our community – and there is no doubt in my mind that together, we will prevail in the fall general election.”
Why this race was so important for both parties
California’s 25th congressional district is a battleground district in Southern California and includes parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as the cities of Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and Palmdale.
It is one of several Democratic-trending districts in California that voted for Sen. Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In the 2018 midterm elections, former Rep. Katie Hill flipped the district from Republican to Democratic with an 8-point victory over incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Knight.
After about 10 months in Congress, Hill, 32, resigned from the House after dozens of explicit photos of her were published on websites including the conservative blog RedState and the Daily Mail. Text messages published on the sites, which Hill’s estranged husband is accused of leaking, appeared to detail a polyamorous relationship that he and Hill engaged in with one of Hill’s paid campaign staffers.
On March 3, Smith, a Democratic state assemblywoman and former school-board member, and Garcia, a former Navy pilot and defense contractor, advanced through a crowded top-two jungle primary for Tuesday’s special general election.
The highly competitive special election was rated as a toss-up by major election handicappers, including The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and expected to be very close.
Garcia will serve out of the rest of Hill’s term in the 116th Congress until January, but Smith and Garcia will have a rematch in just six months for the regular general election in November to represent the seat in the 117th Congress.
Smith wrote of the special election in her concession statement: “This is only one step in this process, and I look forward to having a vigorous debate about the issues in the upcoming November 2020 election, from healthcare access to job creation, aid for working families, investments in local classrooms to wildfire protection, women’s rights and more. In the months ahead … there is no doubt in my mind that together, we will prevail in the fall general election.”
California, which has an expansive vote-by-mail statute, allows voters to cast absentee ballots without an excuse. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, election officials mailed the nearly 425,000 registered voters in the district an absentee ballot while offering limited in-person voting options.
Winning back the seat was a big victory for Democrats in 2018. But despite party heavyweights like Clinton and former President Barack Obama stepping in to endorse Smith, Democrats lowered their expectations for the outcome of this special election — and suffered a loss.
Mike Garcia tweeted the following statement: