The battle for a northern Los Angeles County congressional district seat became a virtual dead heat Thursday, with incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Garcia moving within 256 votes of his Democratic challenger, Assemblywoman Christy Smith.
On Wednesday night, Smith had a 1,722-vote lead in the 25th Congressional District race. But when updated results were released Thursday, the numbers showed Smith and Garcia each with 50% of the vote. The results showed Smith with 138,259 votes, versus 138,003 for Garcia.
The district stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County.
According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office, there are still 791,200 votes left to tally from Tuesday's election, although it was unclear how many of those ballots were from the 25th Congressional District.
The county will also continue to accept vote by mail ballots through Nov. 20, if they were postmarked by Tuesday.
Smith is hoping to avenge a loss to Garcia in a May 12 special election prompted by the resignation of Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, following the online release of salacious photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.
The seat had long held by Republicans until Hill's 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale.
Tuesday's election was the fourth time in nine months Garcia had faced Smith. In March, Smith and Garcia finished one-two in a special election to fill the remainder of Hill's term. Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff was needed.
On that same ballot, Smith and Garcia also topped essentially the same field of candidates in a separate primary race to fill Hill's seat for the next two years.
In May, Smith and Garcia squared off in the runoff of the March special election to complete Hill's original term, and Garcia won and was sworn into Congress.
The winner in the current race will take over the seat for the next two years.
The 25th District was one of several Southland districts targeted by Republicans after sweeping losses the party suffered in 2018.
Smith's campaign website touted a variety of priority issues, led by improving public education, ending "corruption in Washington," boosting support for first responders and ensuring access to affordable health care.
Garcia is a former Navy pilot who said he was inspired to vie for the post because Hill "did not represent our moderate district. I have the choice to stand on the sidelines and see what happens but that is not in my DNA. This is an extension of my desire to serve, this time to fight for my district."