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Christy Smith Concedes To Mike Garcia In LA County Congressional Race

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) -- Just shy of one month since the Nov. 3 election, Democrat Christy Smith has conceded to Republican Mike Garcia in the race for the 25th Congressional District seat.

smith garcia collage
Undated photos of 25th Congressional District candidates Christy Smith and Mike Garcia. (CBSLA)

As of Monday, Garcia is still clinging to a small lead over Smith with a margin of 50.06% to 49.94%. Just 405 votes separate to two, but Smith said Monday in her concession statement that it is clear the lead will not be overcome.

"This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grassroots campaign we ran," she wrote. "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 otherwise 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."

The lead has changed hands several times since Nov. 3. At one point, Smith had a 1,287-vote lead, but that was erased.

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!''

This is the fourth time in nine months that Smith faced Garcia.

In March, Smith and Garcia finished one-two in a special election to fill the term of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned following the online release of personal photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.

Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff was needed. On that same ballot, Smith and Garcia also topped essentially the same field of candidates in a separate primary race to fill Hill's seat for the next two years.

In May, Smith and Garcia squared off in the runoff of the March special election to complete Hill's original term, and Garcia won and was sworn into Congress.

The winner in the current race will take over the seat for the next two years.

The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill's 2018 victory over then Republican Rep. Steve Knight.

The 25th Congressional District stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County and includes the cities of Palmdale and Santa Clarita. Vote by mail ballots will continue to be accepted through Nov. 20 if they were postmarked by Election Day.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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