When the final results roll in and the likely victor, Republican Mike Garcia, is confirmed as the winner in the special election in California’s 25th congressional district, he will be the first Republican in 22 years to claw back a seat from Democrats in the Golden State.
“We did make history this evening and hopefully the confirmation of the results will prove that here very shortly,” Garcia said on a conference call late Tuesday night with supporters as the results showed him with a decisive lead over his Democrat opponent. “To my team, to the folks on the line and with us this evening, I can’t thank you enough. We’ve set a model on how to run a campaign and how to win.”
While Garcia did not outright declare victory on the call with former Gov. Pete Wilson and former U.S. Reps. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA), he got as close as a candidate could to doing so.
“I’m extremely humbled by this turnout and proud of the results so far and look forward to hopefully declaring victory very soon and getting to work in Washington, DC, for this beautiful 25th congressional district in California,” Garcia said in the 40-minute call with the California GOP insiders.
Gallegly used the word “landslide” to describe Garcia’s likely win, and Wilson predicted a victory as well. McKeon described the beginning of a broader effort by Republicans to find their way back into office in California, a state the Democrats have dominated for many years recently, suggesting this is the beginning of something bigger.
With 76 percent reporting according to the New York Times, Garcia held a commanding nearly 12-point lead over Democrat Christy Smith in the special election. Assuming that late-reporting votes do not change the overall result, an outcome that seems unlikely at this stage but not yet final or certain given the peculiar nature of California’s mail-in voting system, this would be the first time that a Republican has taken back a congressional seat lost to Democrats in 22 years in California.
Republicans had held this seat for many years, but in 2016, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton won the district by several percentage points over President Donald Trump. While former Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) held the seat that year despite Clinton’s strong performance in the district, Knight ended up losing in 2018 in the midterm elections to now-former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA). Hill, whose sex scandals involving staffers caught national attention, was forced to resign, setting up this special election in which Garcia appears to be the likely winner.
Garcia’s looming victory also is a sharp blow to the power of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as it represents yet another district she has lost since regaining the gavel in the 2018 midterms. Late last year, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey defected from the Democrat Party to join the GOP — over objections he had with the Pelosi Democrat strategy of attempting to impeach President Trump. Trump was ultimately acquitted in the Senate.
Now, with Democrats likely losing this California district too, that again drops the magic number of how many net seats Republicans need to flip to retake the House majority in November and retire Pelosi once and for all. The deep cuts into Pelosi’s majority numbers now leave that number at just 17 seats that Republicans need to flip.
There are 30 districts across America currently represented by Democrats that President Trump won in 2016, and Republicans — as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the would-be Speaker has told Breitbart News repeatedly — believe they can flip enough of them to retake the House with Trump at the top of the ticket again this year.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News this weekend on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, Garcia previewed how important this victory is for the GOP as a “bellwether” not just for the state of California but also for the whole country.
“It’s a barometer of where the nation’s at on the heels of seeing some of the insanity from the far-left with Pelosi’s behavior,” Garcia said.
“Obviously, we have some of the added layer of seeing the Katie Hill disaster take place as well. Every district we can claw back between now and November is a big deal, and I think there’s an awakening, and I think people are realizing just how far this Democrat Party has gone, and the fact that Pelosi is the moderate in the room should scare the heck out of the entire country,” Garcia added. “There’s definitely a renaissance here in California. The implications of this in California are significant as well because it will be the first congressional seat we claw back in California for a Republican in 22 years. It’s not just a state thing, it’s not just a local thing, but it’s also a national-level fight.”
Garcia continued, “All eyes are on this. We got the support of the party, we’ve got the support of the president, as you mentioned, and a lot of members are watching this race right now and trying to understand the dynamics of this and seeing what’s working and how we’re being successful. It’s been humbling to be leading this, and it is a bigger fight, and the national implications, as you said, are massive right now. We’ve got to keep getting the message out and keep reminding folks this is about national security. This is about recovery during the COVID-19 crisis. This is about rational leadership with intelligence and dignity and respect and not about party politics. It’s about putting the country first and putting the Constitution and capitalism at the forefront instead of the bickering we’ve been seeing from the left. Bringing that level of respect back to the office, it will have a domino effect.”
“When we win on Tuesday, hopefully, we can go help other districts — keep this seat in November but also take the House back and get Leader McCarthy’s position up to the Speaker shortly thereafter. I think we’re on the road to something fantastic and the hard work is going to pay off here shortly,” Garcia said.
Garcia said on his conference call with supporters and media on Tuesday night that he intends to have a formal victory party on Wednesday evening when it is likely that the final results confirm him as the winner. This election, too, was just to serve out the remainder of Hill’s term until early next year. Garcia will face Smith again in a rematch in November, but then he will have the power of incumbency which gives candidates a much better chance of winning an election.
Garcia, a Navy fighter pilot, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, taking off from aircraft carriers in the Gulf for over 300 missions to provide air support for American troops on the ground as they hunted for Saddam Hussein. His Navy fighter pilot experience became a big deal during the final days of the race as Smith mocked his service in the military.