The race to represent the 25th Congressional District, which encompasses portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, is among the competitive House races to watch. Incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican, won the seat earlier this year against state Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat, in a special election. The two are locked in a tight re-match to hold the seat for the full two-year term.
About the district:
Most of northern Los Angeles County, including part of L.A.’s Porter Ranch, the Santa Clarita Valley, part of the Antelope Valley, and Simi Valley.
About the race:
Democrats hope that the general election will yield a higher turn out of left-leaning voters, a result they say would help flip the seat yet again. In the solidly purple district, either party’s candidate has a “good chance of winning,” according to the Cook Political Report. The race is listed by Cook as a “Republican toss up.”
The May special election marked the first time in more than two decades that a Republican won a congressional seat held by a Democrat in the Golden State. But in this district, the GOP had held on to the House seat for more than a quarter century prior to Katie Hill’s 2018 “blue wave” victory. She defeated incumbent Rep. Steve Knight in a hotly contested race that helped Democrats retake control of the House.
Hill served less than a year before becoming embroiled in a scandal involving an alleged affair with a member of her congressional staff that became the subject of a House ethics probe. She denied the accusation, but acknowledged having an affair with a campaign worker. Hill resigned in November 2019.
Having grown up in the Santa Clarita area, Garcia, the son of a Mexican immigrant father, went to the U.S. Naval Academy and became a Navy fighter pilot. Before winning the special election — the 44-year-old’s first time running for office — Garcia was an executive at defense contractor Raytheon with a side interest in “successfully flipping houses.” He has two sons with his wife.
A member of the state Assembly since 2018, 51-year-old Smith previously served two terms on the Newhall School District board. She spent most of her childhood in the Santa Clarita area, graduated from College of the Canyons and UCLA and went on to work as an education policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. She returned to where she grew up and has two daughters with her husband.