LOS ANGELES – Democrat Christy Smith and Republican Mike Garcia will square off in a May 12 special election runoff to fill out the remainder of Rep. Katie Hill‘s term in the 25th Congressional District, and they’ll meet again in a November runoff for the right to fill the seat for the next two years.
Smith and Garcia finished one-two in the special election to fill out Hill’s term, with Republican Steve Knight, who lost the seat to Hill, finishing third.
Confusing matters in the district that stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County was the fact that voters had to cast ballots twice — once in a special election to fill the balance of Hill’s term that lasts through the end of the year, and again in a primary election to fill the seat for the next two years. The major candidates seeking the office appeared on both ballots.
Smith would have had to win more than 50% of the vote in the special election to win the seat outright to finish out Hill’s term.
The special election was instigated by Hill’s resignation amid the release of salacious photos online and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.
According to preliminary results from the California Secretary of State website, Smith won 34.4% of votes (26,479) in the special election and 29.8% of votes (26,305) in the regular primary election. Garcia came in second with 28.3% of votes (21,780) in the special election and 25.5% of votes (22,542) in the regular primary election. Knight came in third with 18.9% of votes (14,527) in the special election and 20.1% of votes (17,776) in the regular primary election.
Smith was endorsed by many of the area’s biggest Democratic names and by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Her campaign website touts a variety of priority issues, led by improving public education, ending “corruption in Washington,” boosting support for first-responders and ensuring access to affordable health care.
Garcia is a former Navy pilot who said he was inspired to vie for the post because Hill “did not represent our moderate district.”
Garcia was endorsed by more than 20 current and former elected officials including Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, former Governor Pete Wilson and former Congressman Buck McKeon.