Democrat Christy Smith conceded Monday in a knife-edged loss to Republican rival Mike Garcia, who retained his Congressional seat in the 25th District north of Los Angeles.
“With final votes counted in this race, it’s clear we will not be able to close the 339-vote gap,” Smith said in a statement. “This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grassroots campaign we ran.”
“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,” Smith said.
Garcia had claimed victory last week but Smith had said that assertion was premature because not all of the more than 338,000 votes cast had been counted.
In a statement Monday, Garcia said he looks forward to two more years representing the district, which includes most of northern Los Angeles County and part of eastern Ventura County.
“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,” Garcia said, with a short-term goal of pushing for federal relief for people and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcia, a former fighter pilot and unabashed supporter of President Donald Trump, recaptured a district that Democrats had only won two years ago. Garcia won the vacant swing district in a May special election following the resignation of Rep. Katie Hill in 2019.
Hill stepped down in 2019 after acknowledging an affair with a campaign worker.
Smith, a state Assembly member, had been critical of Trump and ran on a promise to deliver better health care.
Garcia’s victory marks another bright spot for Republicans in the heavily Democratic state. They lost a string of House seats in 2018 but with Garcia’s victory, they have now reclaimed four in California.
Republican Young Kim defeated Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in a district anchored in the one-time GOP stronghold of Orange County, and Republican Michelle Steel claimed the 48th District in Orange County from Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda.
In the Central Valley, Republican former Rep. David Valadao retook his old job from Democratic Rep. TJ Cox, who unseated him two years ago.