Republican Mike Garcia Wins Tight California House Race as Democrat Christy Smith Concedes

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
December 1, 2020Updated: December 1, 2020

Democrat state assemblywoman Christy Smith conceded defeat on Monday in a tight congressional race in California’s 25th District, handing Rep. Mike Garcia a bitterly-fought win.

Smith, who sought to unseat the incumbent Garcia, lost by 333 votes, according to a tally finalized on Monday.

Garcia, in a statement on Monday, called the battle to retain his congressional seat “tough” and previewed his near-term priorities.

“My focus is on representing all constituents in CA-25,” Garcia said. “In the short term, this means pushing to get federal relief to those who are most impacted by COVID, individuals and small businesses. It’s been a tough election, but the fight has been worth it. I am looking forward to two more years.”

Smith in a statement said, “This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grassroots campaign we ran,” adding that, “the results show our district is deeply divided.”

The race remained close throughout most of the vote counting, with Smith ahead at one point, but Garcia later pulled ahead and kept his narrow lead.

“Over the last few weeks, our attorneys reviewed thousands of uncounted ballots and our campaign volunteers undertook an extraordinary effort to cure hundreds of votes throughout the district that may not have been counted,” Smith wrote. “We exhausted every possible option, and did everything within our power to ensure that every voice in this election was heard. Nonetheless, we came up short.”

Garcia in May beat Smith in a special election to fill the seat, vacated after former Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat, resigned in 2019 amid a House ethics probe.

Epoch Times Photo
People wait to cast their votes at a polling station in a special election between Democrat state assemblywoman Christy Smith and Republican businessman and ex-Navy pilot Mike Garcia for the vacant 25th Congressional District, in Santa Clarita, Calif., on May 12, 2020. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

The Republican incumbent on Nov. 20 declared victory in his bid to hold that seat after it became increasingly clear he would hold his lead.

“After a long, tough fight, I am proud to earn the privilege of serving CA-25 for another two years,” Garcia said in a statement released last Friday. “With only a few remaining ballots to be counted, victory is clear.”

In her concession statement on Monday, Smith wrote that she is “ready to work with partners across our community to heal division, move forward, and rebuild together.”

Garcia’s victory brings the number of seats in California that flipped Republican in the November election to four—more than any other state.

A close race in California’s 21st Congressional District was called on Thursday, with Decision Desk declaring that challenger David Valadao, a Republican, had unseated incumbent Democrat Rep. TJ Cox.

The two other California contests that saw Republicans eke out wins against Democrats were in the 39th District, where Young Kim beat incumbent Rep. Gil Cisneros, and the 48th District, in which Michelle Steel won against Rep. Harley Rouda.

In the 2020 election so far, Democrats have won at least 222 House seats. Though they are poised for two more years of controlling the chamber, it is with a slim majority.

Republicans, meanwhile, have so far flipped at least nine House seats and now have 207 in the 435-member chamber, as a surge of Republican voters transformed expected Democrat gains of perhaps 15 seats into losses potentially approaching that amount.

Democrats went into Election Day with a 232-197 House advantage, plus an independent and five open seats. With some races remaining undecided, it’s possible that in the new Congress that convenes in January, they will have the smallest majority since Republicans held just 221 seats two decades ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.