Republican candidate Mike Garcia has defeated Democrat Christy Smith in the closely watched California 25th Congressional District special election.
Miracles do happen, even in deep-blue California.
As of Wednesday evening, Garcia held a commanding 56 to 44 percent lead in the vote tally.
The election was held primarily by mail-in ballots, so there is still an indeterminate amount yet to arrive and be counted, but Smith, a member of the California State Assembly, conceded the race in a message posted on Facebook.
“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,” Smith said.
“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,” she added.
Both Garcia and Smith will be on the ballot in November’s general election.
— Mike Garcia (@MikeGarcia2020) May 10, 2020
The New York Times reported that Democrats are hopeful Smith can prevail then, noting the district went for Hillary Clinton by nearly seven points in the 2016 presidential election.
Nevertheless, Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot and combat veteran, accomplished what no Republican has managed to do in California since 1998: flip a seat from D to R.
The 25th Congressional District seat had been held by a Republican from 1993 until 2018, when former Rep. Katie Hill notched a solid win in the midterm elections.
That election cycle saw the GOP’s congressional delegation in the Golden State drop in half from 14 to seven.
Hill vacated her seat last October after a “throuple” ethics scandal.
The district includes parts of northern Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, with the communities of Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Simi Valley (home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library) the most prominent.
President Donald Trump, who had endorsed Garcia over the weekend, celebrated the victory.
“Big Congressional win in California for Mike Garcia, taking back a seat from the Democrats,” Trump tweeted.
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
“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!”
Garcia tweeted on Wednesday that he’s ready to go to work.
I’m ready to go to work… pic.twitter.com/99CPZ6iZH6
— Mike Garcia (@MikeGarcia2020) May 13, 2020
“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,” he said in an attached statement.
Here’s to hoping every seat lost in 2018 swings back into the GOP’s hands.
And, more importantly, that in January 2021, San Francisco’s own Nancy Pelosi has to surrender the gavel to the next Republican speaker of the House.
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