Trump congratulates California Republican for 'taking back a seat from the Democrats' in uncalled race

President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE on Wednesday cheered GOP congressional candidate Mike Garcia's performance in a California special election, declaring him the winner before the race had been officially called.

"Big Congressional win in California for Mike Garcia, taking back a seat from the Democrats. This is the first time in many years that a California Dem seat has flipped back to a Republican," Trump tweeted.

The president also highlighted Republican Tom Tiffany's win in a Wisconsin special election on Tuesday.

The race in California's 25th Congressional District had not yet been called as of Wednesday morning, though Garcia, a former fighter pilot, had a sizable lead. He led by roughly 12 percentage points over Democrat Christy Smith with about 76 percent of precincts reporting.


The election was held mostly by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it may be days before a winner is decided. Mail-in ballots need only be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted. The final day for election officials to receive ballots is Friday.

Should Garcia prevail, it would be the first time since 1998 that Republicans flipped a Democratic-held House seat in California. Former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObamas to attend Biden inauguration Trump pardons George Papadopoulos in latest batch of pardons Former Rep. Katie Hill files lawsuit against ex-husband, Daily Mail over nude photos MORE (D) represented the district until her resignation last year.

Garcia and Smith are expected to face off again in November, when a full two-year term will be at stake.

Republicans are likely to herald Garcia's special election victory should he hold on as a sign the party remains strong in suburban areas heading into the 2020 elections.

Democrats have a roughly 28,000-person advantage over Republicans in voter registration in the California district, and then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Portman planned exit sets off Ohio free-for-all Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick MORE beat Trump there in 2016 by nearly 7 points.