This Northern Los Angeles County seat has caused Democrats immense frustration ever since Rep. Katie Hill resigned amid a sex scandal in 2019. Garcia has defied the seat’s D+4 Cook PVI by playing up his background as a Navy fighter pilot and the son of Mexican immigrants, beating Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith three times: in May 2020 (55%-45%), November 2020 (50.1%-49.9%) and 2022 (53%-47%).
By 2022, national Democrats had begun to view Smith as the problem. On a 2020 Zoom call, the former teacher appeared to ridicule how much Garcia talked about his military background and posed in front of planes, and Republicans hammered her as a tax-raiser in Sacramento. Despite favorable redistricting that moved the seat from Biden +10 to Biden +12, neither the DCCC nor House Majority PAC spent significantly in 2022.
This time, Democrats are ecstatic about their new entrant: wealthy former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, who served as NASA’s chief of staff under President Barack Obama before heading up Richard Branson’s commercial spaceflight venture. Whitesides, who thought about running last cycle, has Smith’s nod and
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