By Wednesday morning, Republican candidate Mike Garcia held a significant lead over Democrat state assemblywoman Christy Smith in the special election for California’s 25th congressional district seat, a seat which had been held by former representative Katie Hill until she resigned after revelations of sex with a staffer.
The New York Times reported that 314 of 411 precincts had been counted, with Garcia winning 80,337 votes, 56% of the vote, and Smith garnering 62,998 votes, 44% of the vote.
“I won’t give a victory speech tonight,” Garcia told reporters Tuesday night, as reported by Politico. “We’ll save that for hopefully tomorrow night.”
Late Tuesday night, Garcia tweeted: “While the night is early and there are still votes to be counted, we are confident that our message of low taxes and not taking Sacramento dysfunction to Washington has resonated with the voters of California. The district has been without leadership for far too long, and the people here need a strong independent voice fighting for them in DC, especially during these challenging times. I’d like to thank everyone in the 25thCongressional District for their support, and I want them to know that when victory is finally declared, I plan to be a voice for those who voted for me and those who did not.”
My statement on tonight's election results: pic.twitter.com/jCa3B4hpbd
— Mike Garcia (@MikeGarcia2020) May 13, 2020
Smith would not concede, saying, “It is critical that every ballot cast is counted and the voice of every CA-25 voter is heard.”
Politico notes that in the district, “Democrats have a voter-registration advantage of nearly 30,000.”
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district by seven points; in 2018 and Hill defeated Republican Steve Knight by nine points last year.
Smith didn’t help her cause when it was revealed that on an Indivisible Day of Action Video Call on April 25 with supporters, she mocked Garcia’s credentials. 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 Daily News noted that Garcia “graduated first in his class at flight school, earned perfect scores in advanced jet training and flew F-18 Super Hornets off an aircraft carrier in a combat zone.” As highlighted by Fox News, Garcia participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
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