Mike Garcia wins California special election, flipping House seat back to GOP

Republican Mike Garcia wins California special election and flips ...

Republican Mike Garcia won California’s 25th Congressional District special election, defeating Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith to fill the seat vacated in October by former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill.
Smith conceded the race Wednesday after results tallied so far showed Garcia, a former Navy pilot, winning 56% of the vote, compared to Smith's 44%. The 25th District, including large swaths of northern Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County, has been dominated by mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Garcia will serve out the final seven months of Hill's term, which ends Jan. 3, 2021. In November, he is expected to go up against Smith again to determine who will represent the district for a full two-year term.
Garcia’s win marks the first GOP House picked up in California since 1998. Hill won the seat in 2018 by a 7 point margin when she defeated two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Knight.
Garcia is the son of a Mexican immigrant and attended the U.S. Naval Academy after being nominated by then-GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, who represented the district for 22 years and was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Garcia flew combat missions in Iraq and later served for 10 years as an executive on the board at Raytheon.
The California Republican told the Washington Examiner earlier this week he was motivated to run for the seat immediately following the election of Hill.
"When I saw Katie Hill get elected after watching her run, I just knew it was a facade, I knew that it was a marketing plan wrapped around someone who had no qualifications for that position," he said.
"I told my wife in the morning after the election that this is going to affect us, and if I didn't think anyone else was running, and if I thought I could win, then I would run. So I spent about three, four months looking at all the data, conferring with all the local leadership both inside and outside the district ... and came to the conclusion that we could actually win the seat back."
Democrats counted on Smith, a former California Department of Education official, who raised $2 million in 2018 to defeat a GOP incumbent in a state assembly race, to hold the seat in Democrat hands.
However, her criticism during an online chat with supporters over how Garcia campaigned on his Navy fighter pilot experience backfired, leading her to apologize to Garcia days later on Twitter. Republicans continued to capitalize on her remarks, though, in the aerospace industry corridor of the district.
Additionally, although Hill endorsed Smith and cut a political ad from Washington through her super PAC, her popularity in the district had plunged and was a drag on the Smith campaign.
Democrats began downplaying the possibility Smith could win in the district this time around and began talking about Smith facing Garcia again in November, as early absentee returns began to favor the California Republican.

By Friday, Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris agreed to open additional in-person polling sites in the county at the urging of county Democrats, causing Republicans to accuse Democrats of attempting to “steal” the election by opening another site in a Democratic-voter heavy region. However, very few voters cast their ballots at the polling sites, opting instead to mail their ballots in

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