This is the one all about the 2020 California 25th District special election.
Find out about this southern California district, its past results, why it’s vacant, and who we think is going to win it.
The special election takes place on May 12, 2020, or at least, that’s when it’s supposed to happen.
California 25th District Special Election Results – 11:30pm ET, May 13
Mike Garcia (R) has picked up the seat for the GOP after the party lost it in 2018, defeating Christy Smith in the special election.
As Calfornia takes weeks for its ballots to trickle in and be counted, we will not have final results for a bit, but Garcia is the winner.
Background of the 2020 California 25th District Special Election
This district was represented by Steve Knight, a Republican from 2015 to 2019. He succeeded Buck McKeon, the area’s Republican representative for over 20 years. However, just because this was a reliable Republican seat in the past did not mean it was bound to stay that way. In the November 2018 election, Katie Hill, a Democrat, took the seat away from the GOP. This was one of a net gain of 41 seats for Democrats in the 2018 “Blue Wave.”
Hill lasted in office for less than a year. In October 2019, the young congresswoman became involved in a scandal in which intimate photos of her were released, and she was accused of having inappropriate relationships with staffers. She was investigated by the House Ethics Committee, and despite denying what was levied against her, the toll of the scandal was her resignation at the end of 2019.1 This made vacant a seat Democrats expected that Hill would hold for them for years to come.
All About the California 25th District
The 25th District is primarily north of Los Angeles, and is mostly within the boundaries of Los Angeles County. Some of the district spills over into Ventura County.
A few of the cities and towns within the 25th District are Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valley.
2018 District Results
Katie Hill garnered a swing of seven and a half percent to win the seat for the Democrats in 2018. This was one of the Democrats’ expected gains as California continues its transformation into a one-party state with the GOP there almost eradicated. Out of 53 House seats in California, this result helped bring the Democrats up to 46 of them.
2020 California 25th District Special Election Results: Primary2
Christy Smith (D), state assemblywoman for District 38, placed first in the open primary with 36.2 percent of the vote. Mike Garcia (R), a former officer in the Navy, took second place with 25.4 percent and advanced to the general election with Hill.
Former congressman Steve Knight (R) came in third with 17.2 percent and failed in his bid to retake his old seat.
Among the other candidates, a notable result was Cenk Uygur (D), creator of “The Young Turks,” coming in fourth on 6.6 percent.
Democratic candidates combined for just under 51 percent of the primary vote.
California 25th District Prediction
May 3 Prediction
In the absence of any respectable amount of opinion polling, keeping in mind the political climate, and keeping in mind that this could be an unpredictable COVID sort of election, we are keeping this as a Democratic “weak lean.”
We have seen the one poll from a Republican-friendly pollster that’s come out and has given Mike Garcia a narrow lead.3 We are also aware that the Democratic candidate, Christy Smith, got in some hot water for comments throwing shade about Garcia’s military service.4 But, the question you may be asking after having watched the 2018 wave, is will this election be about Trump? All politics is local, yada yada yada, but will this be a referendum on the current state of affairs in the United States and the president’s handling of the coronavirus? Christy Smith is doing her best to make it about Trump, and the Democrats think this will prove effective.5
You have to ask yourself this, putting the candidates themselves aside: will the 25th District swing back to the GOP a year and a half after tossing them out? To answer that, you must progress on to this question: What has changed in the political environment since then, outside of the obvious with COVID-19? Is the California electorate as a whole any more Republican than they were a few months ago? We think we know the answers and that’s why, with some hesitation, we are keeping our prediction as a Democratic hold. Expect a close race, however.
April 5 Prediction
This is still a competitive district, and one that has to now send another new member to Congress after a year and a half. However, if you need to consider which party to give the edge here, think of this: has the California GOP done anything to deserve thinking they could pull off a win? A Republican win here, if it happens, would be a momentous victory in that it will have some thinking they’re turning the tide. There is not much left for the Republicans to lose in the Golden State, and this would be a nice rebound, though more like a drop in the bucket. However, with the party’s strength low and Democratic fortunes high over the last few years, it just doesn’t seem like the right time for them.
We have this down as a weak lean for the Democrats because the final result could still in theory be something like 52 to 48. It’s close enough that we keep it a weak lean, but not close enough for us to think the Republicans are going to topple this seat.
1: Heather Caygle, John Bresnahan, Kyle Cheney, “Rep. Katie Hill to resign amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with staffers,” Politico, October 27, 2019, https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/27/rep-katie-hill-to-resign-amid-allegations-of-inappropriate-relationships-with-staffers-000301/)
2: Alex Padilla, “Final Official Election Results – Congressional District 25,” California Secretary of State, March 3, 2020, https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/2019-cd25/official-results-primary/)
3: 1892 Polling, “CA-25 Special – Mike Garcia Leads Christy Smith 43-39%,” March 11, 2020, https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000170-f5c6-d588-ab77-fdd79f1a0000/)
4: Kerry Picket, “California Democrat apologizes to GOP opponent for mocking military experience two weeks before special election,” Washington Examiner, April 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/california-democrat-apologizes-to-gop-opponent-for-mocking-military-experience-two-weeks-before-special-election/)
5: John Wildermuth, “It’s all about Trump in a key California congressional race,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2020, https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/It-s-all-about-Trump-in-a-key-California-15237071.php/)