Garcia leading Whitesides in early returns 

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Courtesy
The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Courtesy
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Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Democratic challenger George Whitesides, a former chief of staff for NASA, are expected to be on the ballot in November after months of campaigning.  

Garcia led with 53.2% with 31,235 votes; Whitesides had 34.3%, or 20,200 votes; and Steve Hill, a Democrat, was in third with 12.5%, or 7,385 votes.  

The results of the California Primary as of press time reflected fewer than 60,000 votes, but the two candidates represented the choices of their respective parties in the state’s top-two primary format.  

Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, a former Raytheon executive who’s represented the Santa Clarita Valley in Congress since winning a May 2020 special election for the then-25th District seat to replace Katie Hill, raised $3.18 million as of the Feb. 14 filing period for the Federal Election Commission, according to records available online. 

“I am honored and humbled to once again receive the support of so many constituents. Tonight’s results are a testament to the fact that our mission and message is resonating with CA-27: Ensure the security of California families,” he said in a statement sent Tuesday night through his campaign spokesman
Liam Anderson, shortly after the initial results were reported. 

“Yes, of course, there is much work that lies ahead. From historic inflation to staggering debt, an open border to rising crime, we must correct course on many fronts. But I don’t believe the American people are intimidated by this task. I believe we’re a nation determined to seize the opportunity to get this country back on track, and I look forward to working with you to do just that.”

 

Whitesides, a first-time candidate, reported raising $3.57 million during the same time period, which included a $1.06 million loan to himself. 

“I mean, obviously, we’re still waiting,” Whitesides said in a phone interview Tuesday in response to the first batch of results around 9 p.m. “But we’re excited, things are going in the right direction. And, you know, we’re excited to win in November.” 

He said he was running because he felt Garcia was “out of touch” with the district on his views. “He’s on the wrong side,” Whitesides said. “And he’s been voting to co-sponsor the national abortion ban. He voted to cut law enforcement budgets and the VA budgets by 30%. He voted to decertify a free and fair presidential election. He supports policies that make our country less safe and our communities less safe.” 

Whitesides held an edge in itemized individual contributions, $1,831,645.86 to $1,493,748.90 while Garcia led in unitemized $485,612.91 to $265,361.78. Garcia received no candidate contributions, while Whitesides received $270,795.00

Garcia brought in $737,200 from other committee contributions; Whitesides had $91,667.54 in such funds.  

The challenger is getting ready for November with $2,508,523.64 on hand as of the February federal filing period while Garcia reported having $1,560,751.31. 

L.A. County ballots also listed Hill, a small-business owner, as a candidate. He did not have any financial disclosure information listed on the FEC’s website. 

He expressed frustration over the lack of opportunity he has had to debate with either opponent during the runup to Tuesday’s vote. 

In such an important district, he said, referring to how “purple” the 27th District is, residents should get a chance to hear the candidates answer their questions and be accountable to the voters. 

“There was nothing for the public to ascertain information about the people who want to represent them,” Hill said, adding that campaign fliers were the exception. 

The latest voter registration report from the state from Feb. 20 indicated that there were 446,768 voters in the 27th District, which included 185,418 Democrats and 132,823 Republicans, 19,405 American Independent Party voters and 1,728 Green Party voters. 

The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, which took effect in 2011, created “voter-nominated” offices. The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act does not apply to local offices. Most of the offices that were previously known as “partisan” are now known as “voter-nominated” offices, according to the California secretary of state. Voter-nominated offices are state constitutional offices, legislative offices and U.S. congressional offices. The only “partisan offices” now are the offices of U.S. President and county central committee. 
All candidates for voter-nominated offices are listed on one ballot and only the top-two vote-getters in the primary election — regardless of party preference — move on to the general election, according to the Secretary of State.  

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