Although vote counting is still continuing, Republican aerospace executive Mike Garcia was sworn in Tuesday to fill the northern Los Angeles County congressional seat that had been vacant since Democrat Katie Hill’s resignation became effective Nov. 3.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi administered the oath to Garcia and Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wisconsin, who also won a special election last Tuesday.
“It is a huge honor that has been bestowed upon me to represent you in this body,” Garcia said after the ceremony in a message to his constituents. “I do it with humility and with hopefully performance that represents all of us in the 25th District.”
On his new congressional Twitter account, @RepMikeGarcia1, he wrote, “Will be an advocate for lower taxes, job creation and safely getting people back to work.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “It is my honor to welcome the newest member of the House of Representatives — Republican from California — Mike Garcia! Veteran. Businessman. Family man. And first-generation American. Mike is the definition of the American dream.”
Garcia defeated Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith to fill the remaining seven months of Hill’s term. The pair will square off again in November for the right to hold the seat for a full two-year term.
“Mike Garcia has made it clear from the start that if elected to Congress he would be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump, and now that he owes his seat to the president, we can expect him to follow through,” Smith’s deputy campaign manager Kunal Atit told City News Service.
“We look forward to holding Washington’s newest politician accountable and making his tenure one of the shortest in Congressional history.”
Lance Trover, a spokesman for the Garcia campaign, declined to respond to Atit’s comment, instead referring City News Service to a statement Garcia tweeted.
“Whether you voted for me or not, I promise to be an objective voice for everyone in our district,” the statement said.
“Our veterans, our small business owners have gone nearly eight months without a say in Congress, without anyone helping them navigate the federal bureaucracy during this difficult time. We are here to change that and help get them the services they expect and need.”
In an editorial posted on its website Thursday, The Wall Street Journal declared, “Democrats think they’ll have an edge with higher turnout. But Mr. Garcia’s victory shows that the politics of 2020 are more fluid and competitive than the progressive media consensus believes.”
The results of the election have not been certified, although Smith has conceded defeat and Garcia has maintained a roughly 10-point lead.
Garcia’s victory marks the first time a Republican has won a congressional seat in California that had been held by a Democrat since 1998, when then-Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall defeated Janice Hahn to win the South Bay seat vacated by Jane Harman to unsuccessfully run for governor. Harman defeated Kuykendall in 2000.
Garcia is a graduate of Saugus High School and the U.S. Naval Academy. He was a Navy fighter pilot during the Iraq War and became an executive with the aerospace firm Raytheon Co.
Garcia announced his candidacy on April 10, 2019, slightly more than three months after Hill took office. He said his experience in the aerospace industry “along with my military credentials makes me uniquely qualified to tackle the national security issues this nation is facing.”
The 25th Congressional District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, and portions of the northern San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and eastern Ventura County.
Hill announced her resignation Oct. 27 and it became effective Nov. 3, following the release of salacious photos online and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.