SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — Republican aerospace executive Mike Garcia declared victory Wednesday after his opponent conceded in a special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill.
"It was a resounding victory and a loud message to the entire nation," Garcia said in a Wednesday interview.
The congressman-elect said he was proud to help California Republicans take a United States House seat back from the Democrats, the first time the GOP was able do so in a special election in 22 years.
It was a rare win for the state's 25th Congressional District which encompasses northern Los Angeles and eastern Ventura counties.
"Someone who's a patriot running for the right reasons, frankly it's something we need more of in this beautiful country," Garcia said.
That message is one the former Navy combat pilot and businessman leaned heavily on during his campaign, even though fellow businessman President Donald Trump endorsed him all along and tweeted that he was proud of the win.
"I do support this president, not out of blind allegiance, but because of results," Garcia said.
His opponent, Democrat State Assemblywoman Christy Smith conceded the race for the seat Wednesday, releasing a statement that said, in part:
"I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of our supporters, from our brave firefighters, nurses, grocery workers, truck drivers and so many on the frontlines, to our classroom teachers, grassroots activists, women, seniors, young people, and all those who played an integral role in this effort. This campaign is about you — and our community."
Garcia tweeted Wednesday that he was "ready to go to work," focusing on the new and urgent needs of his constituents in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Making sure that everyone in the district is getting the checks that they were promised from the federal government, making sure that small businesses are getting paycheck protection loans and working with the five mayors in the district, and the city councils and the chambers to help us all transition back to a new normal," he said.
Smith and Garcia will again face off in November's general election, where it is expected that more people will vote by mail due to the ongoing pandemic.
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