Hours after freshman Rep. Katie Hill stunned the political world with her resignation Sunday night, maneuvering was already under way for the soon-to-be-called special election in California’s 25thDistrict (Los Angeles County.)
Republicans privately have high hopes that they can recapture the seat that was in their hands for 16 years before political newcomer Hill unseated Republican Rep. Steve Knight in 2018.
Republicans in the district have been enthusiastically lining up behind former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia as their candidate against Hill.
The son of a Mexican immigrant (“he legally immigrated,” Garcia always emphasizes), Garcia was born and grew up in the 25th District (Santa Clarita), graduated in the top 3 percent of his class from the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), and flew 30 combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Of Hill’s resignation, Garcia told reporters on Sunday that the congresswoman’s personal troubles about relationships with staffers were “a complete distraction from the important work that needs to be done.”
“It’s time for our district to move forward and unite around a leader,” he said, adding that the district needed a congressman “with integrity and a true desire to put service to country above all else.”
“Most everyone on the GOP side has united behind Mike Garcia for that seat,” Jon Fleischman, editor of the much-read “Flash Report” political newsletter, told Newsmax, “So it would be somewhat tumultuous if [former Rep.] Steve Knight jumps into the special. But this is politics so anything can happen.”
California sources insisted area Democrats will unite behind freshman Assemblywoman Christy Smith as their candidate to succeed Hill. A former Obama administration official, Smith unseated Republican Assemblyman Dante Acosta last year and is considered a liberal in the mold of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Under Golden State election law, Gov. Newsom could call a special election next week and the primary would almost certainly be held in March (coinciding with the presidential primary). Candidates regardless of party appear on the same ballot and, if no one wins a majority, a run-off between the top two vote-getters would be held in May.
“One thing is for sure is that this was the seat that may or may not have been in play for next November,” said Fleischman, “But as a special election all of the eyes of the country will be on it and it will be big bucks on both sides.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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