The back-and-forth battle for control of a northern Los Angeles County congressional seat returned to a virtual dead heat by midweek, with incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Garcia taking a razor-thin lead over Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith.
At press time, only 159 votes—out of more than 330,000 tallied so far—had separated the pair, according to figures released by the Secretary of State’s Office. The latest numbers from the Nov. 3 election show both candidates with 50 percent of the vote, with Garcia holding 165,178 votes and Smith with 165,019.
The lead has changed hands multiple times this week. On Tuesday morning, Smith, (D-38) had a 1,287-vote lead. On Monday, Garcia, (R-25) was leading by 432 votes.
It was unclear exactly how many ballots from the 25th Congressional District remain to be counted. The district stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County. Vote by mail ballots will continue to be accepted through Nov. 20 if they were postmarked by Election Day.
Garcia defeated Smith, 54.86 percent to 45.14 percent, or 95,667-78,721, in a May 12 special election to fill the final 7 1/2 months of the term of former Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned following the online release of salacious photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.
The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill’s 2018 victory over then-Rep. Steve Knight.