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Christy Smith launches congressional campaign, setting up rematch for competitive California House seat

Christy Smith launches congressional campaign, setting up rematch for competitive California House seat
© Christy Smith

California Democrat Christy Smith on Wednesday launched her campaign for the state’s 25th Congressional District, setting up a rematch for one of California’s most competitive House seats with Rep. Mike Garcia (R). 

Smith, a former member of the California State Assembly, lost twice to Garcia in 2020 in the Los Angeles-area district — once in May to finish the term of former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren Hill Ex-Rep. Katie Hill: 'Gross' for Gaetz to invoke my name Kinzinger is first GOP lawmaker to call on Gaetz to resign Katie Hill on Matt Gaetz: 'I feel betrayed by him' MORE (D) and once in November for a full term.

The second time, she lost by just 333 votes. Given President BidenJoe BidenHouse panel approves bill to set up commission on reparations Democrats to offer bill to expand Supreme Court Former Israeli prime minister advises Iran to 'cool down' amid nuclear threats MORE’s 10-point victory in the district, Democrats see the race as a chance to go on offense in the 2022 midterms.

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Garcia was one of 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the Electoral College results, and Smith's first two-minute ad pans him for that decision while seeking to tie Garcia to the pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Last November, I lost the race for California’s 25th Congressional District by only 333 votes. That was the difference between our community having a representative who aligned himself with domestic terrorists — or one who aligns herself with American democracy. On January 6th, we saw the real Mike Garcia,” she says in the clip. “He sided with insurrectionists … and against the people of our community.”

Smith looked to tie her bid to a number of Democratic priorities that she hopes will juice up support among the district’s blue-leaning areas, including expanding health care, boosting wages and implementing immigration reform.

Smith’s announcement kicks off what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested and expensive House campaigns of the 2022 cycle. The district encompasses an area that was once a Republican stronghold but has become more competitive as it grows more diverse.

Democrats were buoyed when Hill flipped the seat in the 2018 blue wave, though she resigned less than a year later. The party suffered a further setback when Garcia won the special election to replace Hill in 2020, marking the first time Republicans flipped a Democratic district in the Golden State in over two decades. 

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However, Garcia could face an uphill battle for reelection depending on the results of the redistricting process. California is expected to lose a House seat, and an independent redistricting commission could move the 25th District closer to Los Angeles, possibly adding more liberal voters who would be more likely to support Smith. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched its first broadside against Smith shortly after her campaign was announced, looking to tie her to high-cost proposals from the progressive flank of the Democratic Party and noting that Garcia had already defeated her twice. 

“Any Democrat who runs in CA-25 will lose because they’ve embraced Democrats’ socialist agenda of raising taxes and stripping Americans of their private health insurance,” said NRCC spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair.

Garcia too expressed confidence he'd win in his third matchup with Smith, casting her as a "failed" politician.

"Failed politician Christy Smith is clearly hoping the third time’s a charm, but no matter how many times she runs and how many times she tries to reinvent herself with voters, the facts are clear: Smith supports higher taxes on working families, public funding of her congressional races while defunding our police, and a wide open border, and those are simply not the values of CA-25 families," he said.

Updated at 1:46 p.m.