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Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith of Santa Clarita and Republican former Navy pilot Mike Garcia were in a tight race Tuesday night to succeed Rep. Katie Hill in one of California’s most competitive congressional districts, in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, according to early election returns.

Former Rep. Steve Knight, the Republican who was ousted by Hill, a Democrat, in 2018, was close behind in an election that is likely to yield two runoffs — one in May to fill Hill’s seat for the rest of the year and another in November for the full two-year term that starts in January.

Trailing far behind were Cenk Uygur, host of the liberal talk show “The Young Turks”; George Papadopoulos, a 2016 Trump campaign advisor who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia scandal; and more than a half dozen others.

Smith was the candidate favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many other Democratic luminaries, and Knight was backed by the House Republican leadership.

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