LOS ANGELES – Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith‘s chances of unseating Republican Rep. Mike Garcia in the 25th Congressional District continued to wane Tuesday, with an updated vote tally trimming just 13 votes from Garcia’s lead in the tight race.
Garcia had a 400-vote lead going into Tuesday. The updated total released Tuesday afternoon from the Nov. 3 election gave Garcia a 387-vote edge, with an unknown number of ballots remaining to be counted in the 25th Congressional District.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Garcia had 169,289 votes, or 50.1%, while Smith had 168,902, or 49.9%.
While maintaining a lead and the number of outstanding ballots continually dwindling, Garcia claimed victory in the race on Friday night.
“After a long, tough fight, I am proud to earn the privilege of serving CA-25 for another two years,” Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, said in a statement. “With only a few remaining ballots to be counted, victory is clear.”
But 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, D-Santa Clarita, 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.
The 25th district stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County. Friday was the last day vote-by-mail ballots were accepted.
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 that 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.
The winner of the Nov. 3 election will represent the district for the next two years.