Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, congratulated Republican Mike Garcia for his apparent victory in the race to fill the vacant House seat in the 25th Congressional District special election.
“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 in a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon.
Her declaration comes after the initial ballot count Tuesday night, in which early results showed that Garcia was in the lead with more than 55% of the vote, according to the California Secretary of State.
By Wednesday afternoon, with 100% of the district’s precincts reporting, updated tallies showed Garcia at the top with 56% of the vote, or more than 80,337 votes, while Smith earned 62,998, or 44%.
Due to the election being run predominantly by mail, the complete numbers are not expected for several days as ballots postmarked by Tuesday and received by Friday will be added to the tally. The total number of uncounted ballots was not immediately known Wednesday as California law allows for ballots to be received three days after an election, according to officials with the State Secretary.
Los Angeles County Clerk Dean Logan reported Wednesday a preliminary estimate of 21,790 outstanding ballots. Ventura County didn’t have a tally listed online as of Wednesday evening.
Garcia’s unofficial win indicates his success in flipping the House seat from blue to red and finishing the remaining eight months of former Rep. Katie Hill’s term for the 25th District — an area that includes the Santa Clarita, Antelope and Simi valleys.
“We’re ready for it; we’re eager and we’re excited,” said Garcia over a phone call with The Signal Wednesday night. “It’s quite the honor to serve again and represent this great district.”
Garcia said despite it potentially taking a few weeks for the election to be certified, he hopes to be sworn in as soon as next week. He said the quick start is important to individuals and small businesses within the district that are under growing financial strain due to COVID-19.
Around 6 p.m on Wednesday, President Donald Trump, who had waded into the special election and previously endorsed Garcia, called the new congressman-elect to congratulate him on his victory.
“Constituent services, constituent services, constituent services,” said Garcia in response to a question about his priorities for the immediate future. “I’m looking forward to rolling up the sleeves and helping out some folks.”
Garcia and Smith will once again compete for the seat in November for a new, full two-year term.
Smith said Wednesday her focus will now shift to the November general election while completing her current term in Sacramento as an assemblywoman.
“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, from health care access to job creation, aid for working families, investments in local classrooms to wildfire protection, women’s rights and more, in the months ahead,” she said in her prepared statement.
Garcia said he and his team were proud of the victory, but added they plan on rising to the challenge once again in November.