Republican Mike Garcia has defeated Democrat Christy Smith in a special election for California’s 25th congressional district, marking the first time that the Republican Party has flipped a U.S. House seat in California in more than two decades.
“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,” Smith said in a statement conceding defeat. “As such, I’d like to congratulate him.”
Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, noted that it was the first time that Republicans had flipped a seat in California since 1998.
Breaking: Christy Smith (D) has seen enough in #CA25, conceding to Mike Garcia (R). Republicans pick up their first seat in CA since 1998.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) May 13, 2020
“Garcia held a comfortable 12-point lead over Smith with 76.3 percent of precincts reported at the time she conceded,” The Washington Post reported. “A win for Garcia gives Republicans an opportunity to boast that this is evidence they can claw back these types of suburban swing districts they lost in the 2018 midterms.”
President Donald Trump was already celebrating Garcia’s win early on Wednesday morning, writing on Twitter, “Big Congressional win in California for Mike Garcia, taking back a seat from the Democrats. This is the first time in many years that a California Dem seat has flipped back to a Republican. Also, Tom Tiffany beat his Democrat rival BIG in Wisconsin. Two great Congressional WINS!”
Big Congressional win in California for Mike Garcia, taking back a seat from the Democrats. This is the first time in many years that a California Dem seat has flipped back to a Republican. Also, Tom Tiffany beat his Democrat rival BIG in Wisconsin. Two great Congressional WINS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2020
Garcia released a statement on Wednesday saying, “After seeing more results last night, it is clear that our message of lower taxes and ensuring we don’t take liberal Sacramento dysfunction to Washington prevailed.”
“I’m ready to go to work right away for the citizens of the 25th Congressional District,” Garcia continued. “For too long, the people of our district have not had representation, and it’s time their voice is heard in Washington. These are difficult times, and too much is at stake – our small businesses, our workers and our families need all the help they can get.”
Smith harmed her own campaign after it was revealed that she mocked Garcia’s service in the U.S. Military.
The New York Daily News transcribed part of the call:
Smith: “It is what it is. Did you guys know he’s a pilot? I … you know … it had escaped me.” (Laughter)
Unidentified man: “I read about it on his campaign website.”
Unidentified woman: “He’s a pilot?”
Smith: “Yeah.” (More laughter)
Unidentified man: “And of course, the clown who lives in the White House … you get his endorsements.”
Smith: “I sent to my team, we both logged on because we had to do this virtual coin toss and I texted my team and I’m like, ‘OK, he’s got pictures of planes behind him and I’ve got constitutional law books.’ (more laughter) … The irony was …”
Unidentified man: “I love that being a pilot gives him experience and knowledge in international affairs.” (more laughter)
Smith: (giggling) “Yeah, it is …”
The special election took place after disgraced Democrat Rep. Katie Hill resigned last year due to a sex scandal.
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