LOS ANGELES – The next update in the vote count in the 25th Congressional District race is scheduled to be released Tuesday, Nov. 24, but Rep. Mike Garcia has claimed victory with a 400-vote lead.
“After a long, tough fight, I am proud to earn the privilege of serving CA-25 for another two years,” Garcia said in a statement released Friday night. “With only a few remaining ballots to be counted, victory is clear.”
But challenger Christy Smith called Garcia’s declaration of victory “dangerous to our democratic process.”
“With a mere 400-vote margin and thousands of ballots outstanding, election officials are diligently working to process ballots and accurately count all outstanding votes to ensure our communities are heard, and this race remains too close to call,” Smith said in a statement.
“The congressman’s decision is wholly inappropriate and disrespectful of those who have taken the time to vote this year. Our county officials and Secretary of State Alex Padilla have done a phenomenal job of protecting every voter’s right to be heard in the most challenging election of our lifetime. We owe them, and especially our voters, our continued patience as the process is completed,” Smith said.
It was unclear how many ballots from the Nov. 3 election remain to be counted in the district, which stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County. Friday was the last day vote by mail ballots would be accepted.
Garcia’s lead over Smith dropped 46 votes in his bid for a full term representing the 25th Congressional District, according to figures released Friday by the Secretary of State’s Office. He has 169,060 votes, or 50.1%, while Smith has 168,660, or 49.9%.
The race has remained close since election night.
Smith took a 1,287-vote lead on Nov. 9 after trailing by 432 votes at the start of the day’s count. Garcia regained the lead Nov. 10, pulling 159 votes ahead and has led at the end of each day’s count since then.
Garcia defeated Smith, 54.86%-45.14%, or 95,667-78,721, in a May 12 special election to fill the final 7 1/2 months of the term of former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, who resigned following the online release of salacious photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.
The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill’s 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale.