Democrat Christy Smith concedes to GOP's Garcia in race for seat held by Katie Hill

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Democrat Christy Smith conceded Monday in a knife-edged loss to Republican rival Mike Garcia, who retained his congressional seat in the 25th District north of Los Angeles.

Garcia won the vacant swing district in a May special election following the resignation of Rep. Katie Hill in 2019. Hill stepped down after acknowledging an affair with a campaign worker, but has since launched a political podcast and will turn her memoir into a film.

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In a statement Monday, Garcia said he looks forward to two more years representing the district, which includes most of northern Los Angeles County and part of eastern Ventura County.

This undated photo provided by the Mike Garcia For Congress campaign shows candidate Mike Garcia. (Cynthia Smalley/Mike Garcia For Congress via AP)

"I remain committed to protecting the Constitution, fighting for the longevity of our nation and ensuring we invest in our public's safety and our collective national security," Garcia said, with a short-term goal of pushing for federal relief for people and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garcia, a former fighter pilot and unabashed supporter of President Trump, recaptured a district that Democrats had retaken two years ago.

Smith, a state Assembly member, had been critical of Trump and ran on a promise to deliver better health care.

"With final votes counted in this race, it's clear we will not be able to close the 339-vote gap," Smith said in a statement. "This is not the end result we fought for, but I am proud of the strong, grassroots campaign we ran."

"We exhausted every possible option, and did everything within our power to ensure that every voice in this election was heard. Nonetheless, we came up short," Smith said.

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Smith criticized Garcia when he declared victory in November, saying it was “dangerous to the democratic process.”

Garcia's victory marks another bright spot for Republicans in the heavily Democratic state. They lost a string of House seats in 2018 but with Garcia's victory, they have now reclaimed four in California.

Republican Young Kim defeated Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in a district anchored in the one-time GOP stronghold of Orange County, and Republican Michelle Steel claimed the 48th District in Orange County from Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda.

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In the Central Valley, Republican former Rep. David Valadao retook his old job from Democratic Rep. TJ Cox, who unseated him two years ago. 

Fox News' Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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