CA-25: Smith maintains slight lead against incumbent Garcia

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

The vote count will continue for several days as an unknown number of outstanding ballots have yet to be processed but one thing is certain: Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith maintained her lead Wednesday against GOP Rep. Mike Garcia, but only by a 1% margin in the 25th Congressional District race. 

Smith, who had held a 3% lead over incumbent Garcia Tuesday night, received 2,756 more votes by Wednesday afternoon, earning 50.5% of the vote while the congressman had 49.5% (128,462) of the vote, according to the California Secretary of State. 

In L.A. County the gap in votes between the two grew slightly wider as Smith garnered 51% of the vote (110,571) and Garcia earned 49% (106,254) as of Wednesday evening. The 25th District also includes parts of Ventura County.

Garcia and his campaign have refrained from commenting on current results as more ballots have yet to be counted, his campaign spokesman Lance Trover said Wednesday. 

Smith said Tuesday before polls closed that she would remain patient until all votes are counted. 

“As a California state Assembly member who was declared the victor nine days after election day in the last cycle, I know how incredibly important it is to let the process play out and to let county officials do their thing, accurately count the ballots, make sure that they’ve got reporting that they feel comfortable with, that they have verified.”   

Results started coming in after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday in California but results will not be certified until Dec. 11, according to the state. Secretary of State Alex Padilla has reiterated that the vote count “may take a little longer this year.” 

“On election night, we will have a good picture of most contests, but the outcomes of close contests may take days or weeks to settle. This is normal,” he said in a previous statement.

California is expected to issue its first unprocessed ballots report, “which is a compilation of estimates from county elections offices,” toward the end of the day Thursday, according to spokesperson Sam Mahood. 

Wednesday’s update includes 195,971 vote-by-mail ballots processed since election night and those received on Sunday, Nov. 1. The total election results count is now 3.38 million, which is 59.24% of eligible county voters, according to county officials. An estimated 618,200 ballots, including 520,000 vote-by-mail ballots, have yet to be counted, according to county officials. 

Garcia, who won the May special election to fill in for former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill until January after she resigned in October 2019, joined Congress in May after beating Smith by nine points. 

Should outstanding ballots continue in favor of Smith, the 25th District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys, would see its fourth representative in just two years and would leave Garcia as holding the shortest term in Congress at just less than 230 days. The victor of the general election will serve the new, full two-year term in the House.  

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