US House win by ex-combat pilot cements Republican control

Nov 16, 2022, 4:06 AM | Updated: Nov 17, 2022, 10:26 am
U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., participates in a ceremonial swearing-in on Capitol Hill in Washin...

U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., participates in a ceremonial swearing-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 19, 2020. Garcia faces a tougher challenge this year in his left-leaning district north of Los Angeles, after it was redrawn and became even more solidly Democratic. However, the former Navy fighter pilot has shown he can beat the odds. He twice defeated Democrat Christy Smith for the seat, who is on the ballot again for another rematch in the new district, the 27th. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, scored a U.S. House win in a strongly Democratic district Wednesday, handing the GOP control of the chamber and giving the party a rare reason to celebrate in a state dominated by Democrats.

The conservative Republican was reelected to a third term in a district that has a 12.5-point Democratic registration edge and was carried by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden by double digits in 2020. It was Garcia’s third consecutive victory over Democrat Christy Smith, a former legislator.

Garcia was first elected in a special election in May 2020, then was reelected two years ago by just 333 votes. He faced an even tougher challenge this year, after his left-leaning district was redrawn and became more solidly Democratic.

With nearly 75% of the ballots counted, Garcia had 54.2%, to 45.8% for Smith.

Even though his victory carried historic weight by putting Republicans in charge of the House “the mission remains the same,” Garcia said in a statement, in which he promised to work to “get our country back on track.”

Garcia, who flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, is the sole GOP House member with a district anchored in heavily Democratic Los Angeles County.

It takes 218 seats to control the House. With the addition of the latest California results, Republicans have locked down 218 seats so far with Democrats claiming 211.

In another key race in the state, Democratic Rep. Mike Levin beat back a tough challenge from Republican businessman Brian Maryott in a Southern California district that straddles Orange and San Diego counties.

With nearly all the votes counted, Levin had 52.65%, to 47.4% for Maryott.

Levin said he was eager to return to Washington to continue working on affordable health care, climate change and assistance for veterans. Biden traveled to the district in the election’s closing days in hopes of giving Levin a boost.

Garcia’s win, which gave Republicans House control, came with a splash of political sass, arriving in a state so solidly Democratic that a Republican hasn’t won a statewide race since 2006. It is also home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. California is known nationally as a liberal monolith, but pockets of conservative strength remain, mainly in the Southern California suburbs and rural and farming stretches.

But even with the wins, Republicans will remain a small minority within the state’s congressional delegation.

Of the state’s 52 seats — the largest delegation in Congress — GOP candidates had captured just nine as of Wednesday. Counting continued in five districts, although one was a matchup between two Democrats.

Smith, a former legislator, had argued Garcia was out of step with district voters: He was endorsed by then-President Trump in 2020, then joined House Republicans who rejected electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania and opposed Trump’s impeachment after the Capitol insurrection. She also highlighted Garcia’s opposition to abortion rights.

Garcia emphasized his military service and pointed to his vote supporting $2,000 stimulus checks as one example of his political independence. He’s also stressed local issues, including concern over illegal marijuana cultivation.

In California, the primary House battlegrounds are Orange County — a suburban expanse southeast of Los Angeles that was once a GOP stronghold but has become increasingly diverse and Democratic — and the Central Valley, an inland stretch sometimes called the nation’s salad bowl for its agricultural production.

The tightest remaining contest in the state emerged in the Central Valley, where Democrat Adam Gray seized a tissue-thin lead over Republican John Duarte for an open seat in District 13.

Underscoring the closeness of the race, Gray’s campaign formed a committee to begin raising money to finance a possible recount. The latest returns showed Gray leading by 600 votes, with nearly 85% of the ballots tabulated.

In Orange County, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter was holding a nearly 3-point edge over Republican Scott Baugh in one of the nation’s marquee races. Baugh had slashed her lead in half earlier this week, but Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing, rebounded. About 90% of the votes had been counted.

In the Central Valley’s 22nd District, where about two-thirds of the votes have been counted, Republican Rep. David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump, had a 5.6-point margin over Democrat Rudy Salas.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday.
12 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Was...
Associated Press

WNBA star Griner freed in swap for Russian arms dealer Bout

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a high-profile prisoner exchange, as the U.S. released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout but failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years. The deal, the second in eight months amid tensions over Russia’s […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Lawsuit seeks end to NY’s ban on jurors with felony records

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York civil rights organization sued the state’s court system Thursday seeking to overturn a law barring people with felony convictions from serving on juries. The New York Civil Liberties Union argues that the statute spelling out qualifications for jury service disproportionately excludes Black men, leaving Black people significantly underrepresented […]
1 day ago
Perci Ami, left, of Laveen, Ariz., and Patty Talahongva show support for Brittney Griner, Thursday,...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner’s release celebrated by basketball world

Brittney Griner’s loved ones and extended basketball family were ecstatic when news broke Thursday about her release from a Russian prison and that she was on her way back to the United States. It has been nearly 300 days since the WNBA star was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February, when customs officials said […]
1 day ago
Betsy Segui, center, and Luis Rivera, right, enter the courthouse in New Haven, Conn., Thursday, De...
Associated Press

5 officers charged in police van injury case appear in court

Five Connecticut police officers appeared in court for the first time Thursday since being charged with cruelly neglecting a Black man after he was partially paralyzed in the back of a police van, despite his repeated and desperate pleas for help. The New Haven officers briefly faced a judge, who continued their cases to Jan. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

US hits prominent Turkish executive with Iran oil sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is imposing sanctions on a prominent Turkish businessman reportedly close to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for violations of U.S. restrictions on the sales of Iranian oil. The Treasury Department announced Thursday it was penalizing Sitki Ayan and a number of companies he and his family and associates control […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
US House win by ex-combat pilot cements Republican control