May 14, 2020
ELECTION COVERAGE
CA25 / SD28 SPECIAL ELECTION - FIRST RESULTS
BIASC distributed the following special election update:

The California Republicans are on track to flip a Democratic congressional seat for the first time since 1998, with former fighter pilot and Raytheon executive Mike Garcia opening up a 17,339 vote lead over Democratic Assembly District 38, Assemblywoman Christy Smith. In the final election night totals, Garcia led 56.05% / 43.95%. 

Ventura County kicked things off with its only update of the evening at 8:05 PM, with its early mail ballots breaking 57.68% / 42.32% for Garcia and starting him off with a 5,475-vote lead. L.A. County's first dump of the early mail ballots a few minutes later solidified his lead, breaking 54.98% / 45.02% for Garcia and increasing his margin over Smith to 15,780 votes. Despite the protests from the NRCC and Donald Trump decrying the last-minute addition of a vote center in Lancaster as an attempt to steal the election, when the early votes from the L.A. County vote centers came in about 45 minutes later, they broke 76.8% / 23.2% for Garcia and padded his margin by another 867 votes to 16,647. As the evening wore on, two more updates from L.A. County's in-person voting rolled in, the first at 10:30 with 1,244 votes going 67.7% / 32.3% for Garcia, and the second at 12:40 with 1,336 votes breaking 59.4% / 40.6% for Garcia and extending his margin another 252 votes to end the evening 17,339 votes ahead.
As of the last update, 143,335 votes had been counted in the runoff, with turnout at 33.7%. If the same number of people vote in the runoff as did during the special primary, Smith would need to win the remaining ballots 97% / 3% to close the gap. If turnout were to somewhat improbably reach the same levels as the 2018 general election (despite the near total absence of in-person voting, considerably fewer provisional ballots, and the disappearance of door to door ballot collecting efforts in the face of the stay-at-home order), a feat which would necessitate there being an additional 133,000 ballots still in transit, Smith would catch up if she carried 57% of the remainder.

Ventura County will report the totals from the in-person votes and votes dropped off at its vote centers later this afternoon, and given the way the in-person ballot went in L.A. County, it is not inconceivable that Garcia's margin could continue to grow when the more solidly Republican county updates. The initial uncounted estimates will be due out Thursday, with Los Angeles County posting updates on Fridays and Tuesdays until it completes its count.

Riverside County posted a single update yesterday evening, with Assembly District 67, Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez jumping out to a 20,130 vote lead over Democrat Elizabeth Romero. Turnout is currently at 34.43%, with Melendez leading Romero by 11.8%.