With Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, indicating that she will resign, residents of the 25th Congressional District could be left without a representative in Washington for up to five months as the process for filling the U.S. House of Representatives seat begins.
Hill released a statement on Sunday announcing that she will step down from Congress amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers and an investigation opened on the matter by the House Committee on Ethics.
A date for when her resignation would take effect remained uncertain as of Monday afternoon, according to Kassie King, communications director for Hill.
Once a definitive last day is set, Gov. Gavin Newsom will have 14 days to issue a proclamation calling a special election. By Monday afternoon, there was no indication of when Newsom would set an election.
“We will advise when the governor takes action on this issue,” Governor’s Office spokeswoman Vicky Waters said in an email.
The process to fill the vacant seat could take anywhere from three to five months.
Unlike vacancies in the Senate that can be filled fairly quickly through an appointment, those in the House usually linger far longer due to the process as required by the U.S. Constitution and state law, which states that the governor must call for a special election.
“When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies,” reads Article I, section 2, clause 4 of the Constitution.
Special elections must be conducted on a Tuesday at least 126 days but no more than 140 days after the issuance of the proclamation. Should Hill resign by Friday, the special election would have to take place by mid-February. The governor may also decline to do so if the vacancy occurs after the close of the nomination period in the final year of the term of office, according to the California Legislative Information website.
Typically, the office of former representatives remains open during vacancies as staff operate under the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Constituents will have access to limited services and general information on the status of legislation.