As election night came to a close, both candidates for the 27th Congressional District seemed confident – even as both anticipated the final results of the race to be days, or even weeks away.
Incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, once again faces Democratic candidate Christy Smith in what is appearing to be yet another tight race. In early returns Tuesday night, Garcia held a narrow lead over Smith — 51.8% to 48.2% — with an unknown number of ballots remaining to be counted in the days ahead.
This is the first race since redistricting after the 2020 Census dropped some of the 25th District, including Simi Valley, and the district was renumbered the 27th District.
Following the resignation of Katie Hill in 2019, Garcia won a special election that secured him the remainder of Hill’s term. The two faced off again in the general election that November. Smith lost that race to Garcia by a slim margin – 333 votes – an election that also saw Democrats take back control of the Senate and the White House.
Garcia’s and Smith’s running platforms have shifted slightly since 2020, with Garcia largely focusing on economic issues and rising crime rates, and Smith honing in on women’s reproductive rights and health care.
Garcia’s 2022 platform
During Garcia’s 2020 run, he campaigned on issues of national security, minimizing the national debt and taxes, the economy and combating socialism, according to his website from that time.
This year, Garcia said is still committed to pushing back against what he says are leftist policies. However, he is now attributing those policies to a rise in local crime rates and lack of security. Garcia said his constituents’ biggest concerns are security (financial, national, local, etc.) and are prioritizing that issue over “blind loyalty to a party.”
“That’s what’s important to our district right now and so it’s not surprising the issues are surprising. The results of the very far left policies that we’ve now been suffering under for the last two years under this administration, are not surprising,” said Garcia. “I think the only surprise is that my opposition, and the leadership of the far left, haven’t evolved their messaging at all. They are doubling down on the issues that they think are important to them, but that aren’t being really prioritized, or seen as important by our voters.”
While against policies he considers to be far-left, Garcia has chosen not to align with some Republican candidates this year regarding the issue of accepting election results. Garcia said that if he loses the race, he’ll accept the results.
“It’s a tight race, so it’s probably going to be a couple days and we don’t presume anything until the math is solid,” said Garcia. “But as long as things are transparent, like they have always been, at least while I’ve been running an office in L.A. County, we will accept the results.”
Smith’s 2022 platform
During Smith’s 2020 run, she campaigned on issues of education, health care and mental health, gun control, combating climate change and bolstering the middle class, according to her website at that time.
This year, Smith honed in on health care issues – running primarily on securing and expanding reproductive rights for women in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year. Smith said she’s also cognizant of the economic pressures her constituents are feeling, which include inflation.
“Obviously reproductive health was at the top for many, many people, inflation and how that’s impacting families, of course, right up there,” said Smith. “But what was most surprising to me was people’s commitment to protecting our democratic institutions and for the people who voted based solely on that they were immovable on that issue. You know, none of the other issues were going to sway them one way or the other. They were just democracy voters, and that’s what they were turning out for.”
Smith said she had no response to Garcia’s comment about accepting the election results, saying, “That’s the camp we’ve been in all along.” However, Smith did take some time to thank her campaign staff and her supporters.
“We appreciate everyone’s engagement in this really important race. You know, we’ve had some great conversations across the community and welcomed people for town halls and listening sessions,” said Smith. “As always, this community really steps up and you know, does their part as voters so we appreciate that.”