After weeks of ballot-counting that saw the two candidates separated by only a few hundred votes, Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith conceded defeat Monday in her effort to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Garcia in a northern Los Angeles County congressional district.
"This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grassroots campaign we ran,'' Smith, D-Santa Clarita, said in a concession statement. "Over the last few weeks, our attorneys reviewed thousands of uncounted ballots and our campaign volunteers undertook an extraordinary effort to cure hundreds of votes throughout the district that may not have been counted. 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."
As of Monday morning, Smith was trailing Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, by 405 votes from the Nov. 3 election. The candidates were neck-and-neck through most of the vote-counting. At one point, Smith had a nearly 1,300-vote lead, but Garcia pulled ahead and maintained a narrow lead that Smith was unable to erase.
"Though I'm humbled by every vote we earned, the results show our district is deeply divided,'' Smith said. "With so many issues laid bare by this pandemic and moment of crisis in our nation's politics, I will continue to be a voice for the unheard and unseen, working families, small businesses, our environment and the schools in our district and state. I am ready to work with partners across our community to heal division, move forward and rebuild together."
Garcia had earlier claimed victory in the race. He issued a statement Monday saying he is ``honored'' to represent the district.
"My focus is on representing all constituents in CA-25," Garcia said. "In the short term, this means pushing to get federal relief to those who are most impacted by COVID, individuals and small businesses. It's been a tough election, but the fight has been worth it. I am looking forward to two more years. Thank you CA-25!"
Garcia defeated Smith, 54.86%-45.14%, or 95,667-78,721, in a May 12 special election to fill the final 7 1/2 months of the term of former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, who resigned following the online release of salacious photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.
The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill's 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale.