As the congressional race for the 25th District comes into its final stretch, incumbent Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, has declared victory after the recent vote update Friday evening.

“After a long, tough fight, I am proud to earn the privilege of serving CA-25 for another two years,” Garcia said in a statement. “With only a few remaining ballots to be counted, victory is clear.”

After the recent election update, Garcia’s lead over challenger Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, grew to a 400-vote margin.

“A tip of the hat to Christy Smith who ran an excellent and aggressive campaign,” Garcia said. “Running in these elections is difficult, and she did it with grace. I extend this compliment to all 18 opponents I faced in the last 12 months who also were compelled to serve with hopes to represent this beautiful district.”

Smith called Garcia’s declaration “dangerous to our democratic process.”

In a statement, Smith said the race remains too close to call with a mere 400-vote margin and thousand of ballots still outstanding.

 “The congressman’s decision is wholly inappropriate and disrespectful of those who have taken the time to vote this year,” she said. “Our county officials and Secretary of State Alex Padilla have done a phenomenal job of protecting every voter’s right to be heard in the most challenging election of our lifetime. We owe them, and especially our voters, our continued patience as the process is completed.”

Garcia leads the race with 169.060 votes, or 50.1%, to Smith’s 168,660 votes, or 49.9%, according to the California Secretary of State’s website as of press time.

The 25th District includes parts of Lancaster, Palmdale and Simi Valley in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Garcia has held the edge in Ventura County with 36,473 votes, or 54.23% of the vote to Smith’s 30,777 votes, or 45.77%.  However, Smith continues to have the advantage in LA County with 137,883 votes, or 50.98%, to Garcia’s 132,587 votes, or 49.02%.

The two candidates have squared off multiple times this past year to fill the seat vacated by former Representative Katie Hill, who resigned last November due to a scandal involving her relationship with a campaign staffer.

Garcia and Smith were the top two in votes in a special election during the primary, with Smith in the top spot, to fill Hill’s seat. Garcia surpassed former Representative Steve Knight to face off with Smith in a runoff that he won in May.

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