Republican Mike Garcia has defeated Democrat Christy Smith in the special election for 25th Congressional District.
In the initial canvass of votes, Garcia took an insurmountable 56-44 lead over Smith for the right to serve out the final months of former U.S. Rep. Katie Hill’s term. Hill, D-Agua Dulce, resigned from the seat in October.
The election-night tally was 80,337 votes to 62,998.
Garcia is a 1994 Saugus High School graduate who went on to serve in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot. He listed himself on the ballot as “Small Businessman/Father.”
Smith is a 1987 Hart High School graduate who served on the Newhall School Board before her election to the state Assembly, where she currently serves. She listed herself on the ballot as “California Assemblywoman/Mother.”
President Trump, who previously stated that the election was “rigged,” praised the presumptive winner in a Wednesday-morning tweet: “Big Congressional win in California for Mike Garcia, taking back a seat from the Democrats. This is the first time in many years that a California Dem seat has flipped back to a Republican.”
Except for the election of Hill in 2018, the Santa Clarita Valley has been represented by a Republican in Congress since the election of Ed Reinecke in 1964. Reinecke was prededed by a one-term Democrat in 1962, who followed a another 5-term Republican.
The 25th Congressional District includes portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Garcia polled slightly better in Ventura County (57.7-42.3 percent) than in Los Angeles County (55.5-44.5 percent). About 67 percent of the voters in the 25th District live in L.A. County.
Ballots were mailed to voters, who could return them by mail or at a limited number of drop-off locations. Both options were outlined in an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March.
According to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder, mail-in ballots received prior to election day are counted on election day. This is the initial canvass, which ended Wednesday at 1:07 a.m.
Ballots had to be postmarked prior to 8 p.m. Tuesday AND must be received by the registrars’ offices within three days after the election (i.e., Friday, 5 p.m.). County registrars have 30 days from election day to validate and tabulate them.
Garcia and Smith will face each other again in November for the right to serve a full 2-year term in Congress. Smith remains in the Assembly until that time.
About Mike Garcia (From his campaign website)
First generation American citizen Mike Garcia is a highly decorated United States Naval Officer whose record-setting flying performance earned him the honor of becoming one of the first Super Hornet strike fighter pilots in the Navy. He flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the skies above Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit.
Garcia is a native of Santa Clarita since his move to Saugus in 1982 with his mom and step-dad (LAPD officer) at the age of 6. Since this young age Garcia yearned to serve his nation and had his sights set on becoming a Naval Aviator. “At the age of 6 I knew I wanted to fly fighter jets off of aircraft carriers in defense of my country, my decision to run for Congress is a continuation of that desire to serve and a sense of responsibility to serve my country and my district.”
A top graduate of Saugus High School in 1994, Garcia was nominated by Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon to attend the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Garcia graduated in the top 3% of his Annapolis class with a bachelor’s degree (Major in Political Science with 60% of his syllabus comprised of engineering courses, and a minor in Spanish). In May of 1998 he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy with orders to attend flight school in Pensacola, Florida.
As an F/A-18 pilot Garcia was deployed several times on the USS Nimitz, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. He was lauded as one of the best leaders and one of the most naturally talented pilots in the Navy. He saw combat operations during the first 6 months of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and participated in over 30 combat sorties in the skies above Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit.
“My operational service in the Navy was the pinnacle of a career. While my family made great sacrifices the reward of serving our country and providing for its defense was well worth it,” said Garcia, a first generation American whose father legally immigrated to the US in 1959.
Accruing over 1400 hours of operational flight time after nearly 20 years of military service to our country, Garcia decided to separate from the US Navy with an Honorable Discharge and focus on his family. While he continued as a reservist instructor pilot, Garcia moved back to the 25th District in 2009 and began to work for the Raytheon Company.
During his now 10 years as an executive at Raytheon, Garcia has been responsible for the generation of billions of dollars of revenue and the creation of hundreds of jobs for his company and our district.
“The aerospace industry in the 25th District should be commended and supported by our local leadership. This industry brings high-end technology to the warfighter and high paying jobs to our community. There is nothing more noble than that!”, exclaims Garcia.
Besides his service in the military and employment with a large aerospace firm, Garcia has a passion for real estate. “I have been successfully flipping houses, buying beat up properties and refurbishing them for families who can’t afford to do it themselves, and providing quality rental properties to lower income families since 2004. Through the booms and recession, I had great success because of my hard work and diligence. I love the members of the real estate community in the 25th District because they understand that hard work leads to success, not hand outs and government subsidies.”
Garcia’s decision to run for Congress in 2020 as the Republican nominee should come as no surprise to members of the 25th District. He has seen the world but has returned to his hometown. He has a long track record of service, business growth and wanting to see his community remain the utopia it has been since its inception.
When asked why he is running for Congress in 2020 Garcia stated, “I’m running because I don’t want California politicians to bring the same policies of high taxes, out of control homelessness and lower wages to Congress. Our tax burden is skyrocketing and legislation like AB5 cracks down on independent contractors, small business and limits jobs. We need term limits to get rid of career politicians in both parties. I have the choice to stand on the sidelines and see what happens but that is not in my DNA. This is an extension of my desire to serve, this time to fight for my district. We need to be aggressive this time. To that end, I am seeking support to become the 25th District Congressional Representative in 2020. If not me, who? If not today, when?”
Garcia is the husband to Rebecca Garcia, the owner of the Rebecca Rollins Interiors in Santa Clarita, and the father of Preston (age 13) and Jett (age 3).