2020 Primary Analysis: 25th Congressional District

This district will take a decent amount of explaining. The 25th Congressional District falls within the boundaries of Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Katie Hill (D) was the incumbent; however, she had to resign following a bizarre news story about an alleged affair with a staffer.

Based on the timing of the resignation, we have two elections in CD 25. The first election is set to figure out who will finish out the remainder of the 2018-2020 unexpired term for Katie Hill. Our second election is to determine who the top two candidates would be in the jungle primary, both of which would advance to the November election. Both of these races were on the March 3rd 2020 ballot with a candidate running for the unexpired term needing over 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off.

Before I explain what happened in the 2020 elections, let us first look at the overall numbers and what we saw in 2018. This district shows the following party registration for the three largest political groups (the source is http://www.l2political.com):

Republican- 31.6%
Democrat- 37.9%
NPP- 24.1%

Steve Knight, the prior incumbent broke 50% in the primary, but that is not a strong enough cushion for November. Democrats typically experience a 5-10% higher turnout in November when compared to Republicans. Here are the 2018 numbers:

Bryan Caforio (D)- 18.4%
Katie Hill (D)- 20.7%
Mary Pallant (D)- 2.7%
Jess Pelaez Phoenix (D)- 6.4%
Steve Knight (R)- 51.8%

If you calculate the totals from this election, you will see that 118,455 ballots were cast. We also saw 51.8% of voters cast a ballot for a Republican and 48.2% of voters cast a vote for a Democrat.

Let us look first at the 2020 results for the unexpired term:

Robert Cooper III (D)- 1.7%
Getro Elize (D)- 0.7%
F. David Rudnick- 0.7%
Christy Smith (D)- 35.0%
Cenk Uygur (D)- 5.8%
Anibal Valdez-Ortega (D)- 4.0%
Mike Garcia (R)- 27.3%
Kenneth Jenks (R)- 1.7%
Steve Knight (R)- 17.7%
Courtney Lackey (R)- 1.9%
David Lozano (R)- 1.8%
Daniel Mercuri (R)- 1.7%

For the special election, we saw 102,137 voters turnout and cast a ballot in this race and 47.9% of voters cast a ballot for a Republican and 52.1% of voters cast a ballot for a Republican. The result will be Christy Smith and Mike Garcia advancing to a run-off due to the fact that they were the top two finishers but both were under 50%.

Here are the separate results for the normal primary election (very little is normal for CD 25 this year):

Robert Cooper III (D)- 2.8%
Getro Elize (D)- 4.0%
Christopher Smith (D)- 1.3%
Christy Smith (D)- 31.7%
Cenk Uygur (D)- 5.8%
Anibal Valdez-Ortega (D)- 3.1%
Mike Garcia (R)- 23.9%
Kenneth Jenks (R)- 0.4%
Steve Knight (R)- 19.1%
David Lozano (R)- 4.1%
Daniel Mercuri (R)- 0.6%
George Papadopoulos (R)- 1.8%
Otis Lee Cooper (NPP)- 1.4%

I find it ironic that the results are somewhat different for this race. 149,156 voters took the time to vote on this race. 48.7% of voters cast a ballot for a Democrat and 49.9% of voters cast a ballot for a Republican. This is a very slim margin for the Republicans in a primary.

Per the jungle primary rule in California, we will now see a May faceoff between Christy Smith (D) and Mike Garcia (R) for the remainder of the unexpired term and a November matchup for the full two year term. Smith is an Assemblywoman from the 39th District. Garcia is a United States Naval Officer who does not currently hold office.

This is going to be a close race. The numbers look very slightly worse for Republicans in 2020 vs. 2018 for the primary. However, Garcia being a political outsider makes him a unique candidate. Until we see the results of the May election, I am going to call this race a toss-up.

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