Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, scored a U.S. House win in a strongly Democratic district Wednesday, handing the GOP control of the chamber and giving the party a rare reason to celebrate in a state dominated by Democrats.
The conservative Republican was re-elected to a third term in a district that has a 12.5-point Democratic registration edge and was carried by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden by double digits in 2020. It was Garcia’s third consecutive victory over Democrat Christy Smith, a former legislator.
Garcia was first elected in a special election in May 2020, then was re-elected two years ago by just 333 votes. He faced an even tougher challenge this year, after his left-leaning district was redrawn and became more solidly Democratic.
With nearly 75 percent of the ballots counted, Garcia had 54.2 percent, to 45.8 percent for Smith.
Even though his victory carried historic weight by putting Republicans in charge of the House, “the mission remains the same,” Garcia said in a statement, in which he promised to work to “get our country back on track.”
Garcia, who flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, is the sole GOP House member with a district anchored in heavily Democratic Los Angeles County.
It takes 218 seats to control the House. With the addition of the latest California results, Republicans have locked down 218 seats so far with Democrats claiming 211.
Garcia’s win, which gave Republicans House control, came with a splash of political sass, arriving in a state so solidly Democratic that a Republican hasn’t won a statewide race since 2006.
It is also home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. California is known nationally as a liberal monolith, but pockets of conservative strength remain, mainly in the Southern California suburbs and rural and farming stretches.
But even with the wins, Republicans will remain a small minority within the state’s congressional delegation.
Of the state’s 52 seats — the largest delegation in Congress — GOP candidates had captured just nine as of Wednesday. Counting continued in five districts, although one was a match-up between two Democrats.
Garcia was endorsed by then-President Trump in 2020, then joined House Republicans who rejected electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania and opposed Trump’s impeachment after the Capitol incursion. He also opposes abortion rights.
Garcia emphasized his military service and pointed to his vote supporting $2,000 stimulus checks as one example of his political independence. He’s also stressed local issues, including concern over illegal marijuana cultivation.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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