Democrat Christy Smith Advances in Race for Katie Hill’s House Seat

March 4, 2020 by Dan McCue

California Assemblywoman Christy Smith advanced Wednesday in her bid to fill the House seat left vacant by the resignation of former Rep. Katie Hill.

Smith entered the race almost immediately after Hill quit following a nude photo scandal which led to a House ethics probe.

As of Wednesday afternoon, with 68% of precincts reporting, the moderate Smith led with 34.3% of the vote, followed by Republican Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, at 27%, former GOP Rep. Steve Knight, with 18.1%, progressive Democrat Cenk Uygur, at a distant 5.8%, and Democrat Anibal Valdez-Ortega, at 4.1%.

By California law, if no candidate wins more than 50% of a special election vote — the threshold to claim the seat — then the top two vote-getters would be matched up in another special election in May.

Smith is not only advancing to the runoff, but she’s also leading a crowded field in a separate, second race — to be decided in November — for the full House term that begins in 2021.

The district is being closely watched nationally for hints about which party might control Congress next year.

The district is one of several House seats in California that the GOP lost to Democrats in 2018.

Democrats hold a six-point registration edge in the district, which runs through northern Los Angeles County but also takes in a GOP-rich pocket in Ventura County, home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In a statement, Smith said that in May, voters will have a choice “between two contrasting visions.”

“Our campaign is about moving past the Washington status quo and focusing on kitchen table issues like lowering prescription drug costs, making health care more affordable, strengthening our public schools and breaking the stranglehold special interests have on our politics,” Smith said.

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