More than a dozen people are vying for California’s hotly contested 25th Congressional District seat, which was left vacant by former freshmen Rep. Katie Hill.
The district includes Simi Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley, and the vacancy represents a swing seat in the House of Representatives.
Hill represented a changing course in the House, and was one of a record number of female Democrats elected during the midterm elections. The seat had been in Republican hands for more than 25 years before Hill’s victory in a closely watched 2018 race.
But her term was cut short when she resigned amid a scandal last October. Details of a sexual relationship with a campaign staffer and nude photos were posted on a right-wing political website.
She officially vacated her seat in November and, after stepping down, Hill announced she will seek to prevent revenge porn attacks on other women.
In Tuesday’s election, voters will be faced with two ballots in the district: one for a special election to fill out the rest of Hill’s term, and a second to determine the top two candidates who will compete in the general election in November.
If one candidate doesn’t win more than half of the votes in the special election, the top two candidates will compete in a May 12 runoff. Meanwhile, the top two vote-getters from the primary election will go on to compete in the November general election.
“The voter gets the choice in each of those contests,” Los Angeles County’s Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan told KTLA. “If they want to vote for the same candidate in both contests, they can, if they want to vote for somebody different in each contest, both options are OK.”
Yet not all the candidates filed for both races.
- Mike Garcia, Republican — A former fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, Garcia earned the endorsements of the Ventura County and Los Angeles County Republican parties — instead of two-term GOP congressman Steve Knight. Former Gov. Pete Wilson is also a Garcia backer.
- Steve Knight, Republican — He lost his seat to Hill by more than 8 points and is hoping to win back the district. Once a Los Angeles police officer, Knight has highlighted his public service experience, his push for stronger border security and a track record of being independent. He is endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Palmdale Mayor Steven Hofbauer.
- George Papadopoulos, Republican — The former Trump campaign advisor pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. While he is a candidate in the election for the 117th Congress, but he won’t be on the ballot during the special election to fill out Hill’s term.
- Christy Smith, Democrat — Smith is a California state assemblywoman currently representing Simi Valley, far northern San Fernando Valley and most of the Santa Clarita Valley. A moderate Democrat, she serves on several committees in the assembly and is a former school board member. Smith has pledged to continue pushing for fully funded education and affordable healthcare. She was endorsed by Los Angeles Times and several Democratic members of Congress.
- Cenk Uygur, Democrat — Host and co-founder of popular YouTube show Young Turks. Uygur is a progressive who had garnered support from Sen. Bernie Sanders before the presidential candidate retracted his endorsement, citing Uygur’s history of offensive comments.
Other candidates include:
- Robert Cooper III, Democrat — UCLA professor.
- Getro Franck Elize, Democrat — Patient resource worker.
- Kenneth Jenks, Republican — U.S. Marine Corps veteran and telecommunications executive.
- Courtney Lackey, Republican — Businesswoman.
- David Lozano, Republican — Bankruptcy attorney.
- Daniel Mercuri, Republican — Businessman. Mercuri is running in the regular election, but not in the special.
- David Rudnick, Democrat — A real estate investor who is running in the special election, but not the regular.
- Anibal Valdez-Ortega, Democrat — Lawyer.