The Democratic candidate to fill an open House seat in California’s 25th District conceded defeat to her Republican challenger on Wednesday.
Christy Smith, a California assemblywoman, released a statement on Wednesday saying that her Republican opponent Mike Garcia was the “likely victor” in a special election held Tuesday to fill a seat vacated in 2019 by Democrat Katie Hill.
Hill resigned on Oct. 27, 2019, after revelations that she had an improper relationship with staffers who worked in her office.
Garcia leads Smith by 12 points — 56% to 44% — with 76% of precincts reporting.
Votes were cast by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Garcia, a former Navy pilot with no political experience, will serve out the rest of Hill’s term. He and Smith will face off again in November to fill a full two-year term.
Republicans held the seat from 1993 through 2019, when Hill won amid a blue wave that saw Democrats take control of the House.
Smith received an outpouring of support from prominent Democrats leading up to the vote. She received Obama’s first endorsement for a congressional race in the 2020 cycle.
Polls predicted a close finish headed into the race Tuesday, according to the website FiveThirtyEight.