Two top-two primaries will take place on Mar. 3, 2020, in elections to represent California’s 25th Congressional District. The seat is currently vacant following the resignation of Katie Hill (D) on Nov. 1, 2019.
The top two finishers in the primary for the regularly scheduled House election will advance to the Nov. 3, 2020, general election. The top two finishers in the primary for the special election scheduled following Hill’s resignation will advance to a May 12, 2020, election to complete Hill’s term.
Ten candidates are running in both primaries, so it will be possible for voters to select a candidate twice on the same ballot, or choose two different candidates.
Media coverage and endorsements in both races have focused on four candidates: Mike Garcia (R), Stephen Knight (R), Christy Smith (D), and Cenk Uygur (D). All four are running in both primaries. Knight represented the district in Congress from 2015 to 2019.
Among Democrats, Smith was endorsed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Kamala Harris, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the California Democratic Party. Smith said it is “clear that big money is corrupting our political system,” but that she would “fight within the system as it is set up to make sure that we hold this seat.” She also said she would “work with both parties to make healthcare affordable.” Uygur says his campaign is not accepting endorsements or corporate PAC donations, and he has criticized Smith for accepting money from private industries. He also said, “I’m the only candidate in this race who is in favor of Medicare for All.”
On the Republican side, Garcia was endorsed by the Los Angeles Republican Party and the Ventura County Republican Party. Knight was endorsed by U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Garcia is campaigning on supporting the armed forces. He said he will “make it a priority to ensure our men and women in uniform have the funding and tools necessary to keep America safe.” Garcia also said he supports congressional term limits. Knight highlights his previous experience in Congress. His campaign website says Knight “quickly became known as a fierce advocate for fiscal responsibility, job creation and public safety in our nation’s Capitol.”
The other candidates in both primaries are Robert Cooper (D), Getro Elize (D), Kenneth Jenks (R), David Lozano (R), Daniel Mercuri (R), David Rudnick (D), and Anibal Valdez-Ortega (D). Otis Lee Cooper (I) and George Papadopoulos (R) are only running in the regular primary, while Courtney Lackey (R) is only running in the special primary.
Hill defeated Knight 54% to 46% in the 2018 general election. In 2016, Knight defeated Bryan Caforio (D) 53% to 47%. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was even, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were within one percentage point of the national average. Race raters have given Democrats an edge in the general election.
Nine special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Seven of those were called for seats in the U.S. House, and two were called for seats in the U.S. Senate.
Click here to learn more about California’s 25th Congressional District election.