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Obama endorses Democrat in California special House election

Former President Obama endorsed California State Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D) Tuesday in a special election to fill former Rep. Katie Hill's (D) seat. 

"Now, more than ever, we need pragmatic, experienced and effective leaders in Washington," Obama said in a statement. "I'm proud to endorse Christy Smith in the May 12 special election for Congress because she has proven herself as a leader in her community. Let's help Christy protect this seat."

Smith is facing Republican Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, in the special election. 

The election will be conducted entirely through vote-by-mail amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Smith was endorsed last week by former Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Hill, who flipped the seat in 2018 after defeating an incumbent Republican, resigned from Congress last year amid allegations that she engaged in a sexual relationship with staffers. Hill quickly endorsed Smith in the race to fill her seat. 

Hill's newly formed PAC Her Time launched a video last week pushing voter turnout in the race.

The race is ranked a "toss up" by The Cook Political report

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