LOS ANGELES — For weeks California's 25th District congressional race looked like anyone's game. Democratic candidate Christy Smith and Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia took turns in the lead, separated by a hair of a margin.
After days of trailing Garcia, Smith conceded the race to the current officer holder Monday evening, marking another GOP win in the state. Garcia maintained a slim lead over Smith by 333 votes as of Monday evening, according to the Los Angeles and Ventura county registrars' offices.
Garcia had an early lead in the district, but Smith took a 1,287-vote lead on Nov. 9.
"Thank you for all your kindness, patience and support," Smith tweeted that night. "My team and I appreciate you! We will continue to honor the process as officials do their important work."
Garcia quickly regained a slim lead of 159 votes the next day.
"This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grass-roots campaign we ran," Smith said in a statement. "We exhausted every possible option, and did everything within our power to ensure that every voice in this election was heard. Nonetheless, we came up short."
Garcia said his first priority is obtaining federal relief for the district.
"I am once again honored to represent CA-25 during this pivotal time in our country's history," the former Navy pilot and defense executive said in a statement. "I remain committed to protecting the Constitution, fighting for the longevity of our nation and ensuring we invest in our public's safety and our collective national security."
The district of sprawling suburbs, desert land and horse ranches north of downtown L.A. includes Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster. Democrats have recently gained a voter registration advantage, but deep red pockets throughout the district helped secure Garcia's seat.
Garcia, 44, lost the March primary to Smith but won the May special election to fill the remainder of former Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill's term. Hill resigned a year into her term after allegations arose about an inappropriate relationship between her and a congressional aide and a campaign staff member.
Garcia's win in the special election was the first time in more than 20 years that the GOP flipped a California congressional seat from blue to red and garnered a public congratulations from President Donald Trump.
Since 2018, the district has flipped twice when Hill unseated Republican incumbent Steve Knight. Before Hill's election, the district had served as a Republican stronghold after being redrawn after the 1990 census.
"It's been a tough election, but the fight has been worth it," Garcia said in his statement. "I am looking forward to two more years."(c)2020 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC