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25th District voters to receive mail ballots, candidates adjust to COVID-19 disruptions

Christy Smith and Mike Garcia head to special election on May 12, 2020. Courtesy photos

In an effort to protect public health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced all voters in the 25th Congressional District should receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the May 12 special election, as the candidates headed to the runoff adjust their campaigns amid a statewide order to stay home. 

The governor’s directive also allows for county election officials to provide in-person voting opportunities on and before the day of the election. 

In a statement Friday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said: “Our democracy will not be halted by this pandemic. We will adapt to new circumstances and continue to provide free and fair elections for our citizens.”

Certified election results for the special primary election, which came as a result of former Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation last year, showed that a total of 135,498 ballots were counted for the 25th Congressional District, according to certified results from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. 

Democrat Christy Smith received 57,423 votes or 36.1% of the vote, and Republican Mike Garcia earned 40,311 votes (25.4%), according to county tallies. Former Republican Rep. Steve Knight, who held the office before Hill, missed the top-two cutoff by coming in third with 27,372 votes (17.2%).

The May 12 special election will help determine which of the two candidates will complete the remaining seven months of the congressional term. 

Traditional campaigning has faced an unprecedented disruption brought forth by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, prompting Garcia and Smith to establish new tactics to campaigning since the virus began spreading across the 25th District, an area that covers the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys, and a portion of the San Fernando Valley. 

Smith, who took to social media to say that vote-by-mail this year is “everything,” said in a statement: “We have adjusted campaign operations to reflect current guidance for employee safety and strict limits prohibiting public gatherings. Once we’ve ensured that we’ve protected public health we will revisit campaign-related issues.” 

Garcia has also adjusted to current restrictions in an effort to help others practice social distancing. Most recently, he held a virtual town hall with voters on the economy last week in Simi Valley. Garcia is expected to conduct additional tele-town events for the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, also. 

“Like everyone else across America, we are following the guidelines set forth by the CDC, but with an election only 60 days away, voters need to know where their candidates stand on the issues,” he said in a statement. 

In addition to the special election, both Smith and Garcia qualified to face off in the regularly scheduled primary election on Nov. 3 for the full term of the 25th District.  

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