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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew York Times: Reporter who called for CDC chief’s resignation went ‘too far’ GOP’s Don Bacon and challenger neck-and-neck in Democratic poll Cheney defends Fauci: ‘We need his expertise’ to defeat coronavirus 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 HillRepublican Tom Tiffany wins Wisconsin special election The Hill’s Campaign Report: A Los Angeles House seat is in play for Republicans The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by The American Investment Council – Trump, Pence tested, in more ways than one 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 ClintonMusk finds Trump in his corner The Hill’s Campaign Report: A Los Angeles House seat is in play for Republicans DNC takes first step toward scaling back in-person convention MORE beat Trump there in 2016 by nearly 7 points.

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