Republicans Leading in Race to Flip First California Seat in Two Decades

Republican Mike Garcia, a former Naval aviator, maintained a lead early Wednesday over Democrat Christy Smith in a special congressional election in the Los Angeles suburbs.

Garcia took 56 percent to Smith’s 44 percent when counting temporarily concluded early Wednesday morning. But The Associated Press did not project a winner, with an unknown number of mail ballots left to count.

Garcia was bullish in a call with supporters — held in lieu of an in-person election night event — telling them the campaign was in position to declare victory soon as returns come in.

“I won’t give a victory speech tonight,” Garcia said Tuesday evening. “We’ll save that for hopefully tomorrow night.”

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