GOP Rep. Mike Garcia wins northern L.A. County race, giving Republicans control of the House
Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, the top-ranking Congressional candidate in California’s 27th District, has been declared the winner of a GOP primary that has tested traditional party unity in the affluent part of an overwhelmingly Democratic state.
In a runoff election, Garcia eked out a narrow win over Democratic challenger Ami Bera last week, a win hailed by GOP leaders in his home district and by Republican leaders nationwide. He now becomes the first Republican elected in Northern California in a decade.
Garcia’s victory sets up the party in several years as California is poised to take control of Congress from the Democrats, which will give the GOP the momentum it needs in the 2014 midterm elections.
“This is a great day, but I also want to thank the voters” for putting such confidence in their choice, Garcia said.
“I feel pretty good, I feel pretty confident,” he said.
Garcia is facing Bera, who had the backing of two top Democratic leaders in his bid for the June 25 primary.
In June, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed Garcia. The May 23 endorsement was from Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who in June had praised Garcia for his “deep roots and strong family values” and the values he brings to his job.
Republican state Assemblyman Jim Frazier was California’s lieutenant governor from 2009 to 2011.
Bera, a physician, had a history of backing Democrats and was a former member of California’s state Senate.
He told supporters in July that he was running because he believes Garcia is “a person of integrity” and “a straight shooter.”
“I am not here for political gain because of what my opponent has done or won’t do,” Bera said at an August rally. “I am not here to give Mike’s supporters the satisfaction of thinking that he is a weak leader.”
Bera criticized Garcia for not taking more action on jobs and issues in southern Los Angeles County, where the bulk of his campaign cash came from, he said.
Garcia, however, has been a staunch defender of the city of Los Angeles, which under his leadership has become one of the most dynamic and diverse cities in the nation.
There have been few challenges to Garcia’s leadership or fundraising, with the exception of an unsuccessful fight to win approval of a ballot measure