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Special Runoff Election For 25th Congressional District Looms Ahead During Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- In just one week, voters in Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley will decide who will fill former Rep. Katie Hill's 25th Congressional District seat.

Neither candidate received 50 percent plus one vote to take the seat during the March 3 primary election, forcing them to enter into a special election.

The special election has taken a challenging turn, since the coronavirus pandemic prevented rallies and door-to-door campaigning. Instead of traditional campaigning, both candidates have had to rely on strictly digital methods to try to win the seat.

kristy smith
Democratic candidate Kristy Smith has received several high profile endorsements, including Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.

State assemblywoman Christy Smith is the Democrats' choice. She's received endorsements from several high-profile Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.

She said her key issues remain the same, including "making sure everyone has access to healthcare, both through coverage and through the points of access in our healthcare delivery system [and] that we continue to talk about an economic recovery that hits everybody."

Smith will face off against Republican candidate Mike Garcia, who has received an endorsement from President Trump. She said she is campaigning against Trump as much as Garcia.

"Supporting the president 100 percent of the time is not a proactive platform to be presenting to the voters of the 25th district," she said. "It's not enough."

Garcia is a former Navy pilot who became an executive with a defense contractor. While he wasn't available for an interview with CBSLA, he did post a video to his social media called "A Patriot's Call To Serve Again."

"I don't want to see people lose their pensions," he says in the video. "We need to protect our economy at the national level to ensure California pensions remain viable."

He continues: "National security begins at our border. A nation that cannot control its border is not a nation."

Republican Mike Garcia hopes to turn California's 25th Congressional district red with the special election. (credit: CBSLA)

Political expert Jake Pitney weighed in on the candidates for CBSLA.

"The Republicans did a good job of recruiting here," he said. "Democrats [also] got a quality candidate, and it could be a very exciting election night."

Pitney also warned the election night could be a long one, as the state is notorious for long counts — especially since all ballots will be coming in by mail for this election.

Whoever wins this election will finish off Katie Hill's term. Both candidates will face off again in November for their full term, which begins in January.

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