Rep. Mike Garcia’s voting record: Will it be an obstacle to reelection?


As Rep. Mike Garcia mirrored on his first yr in workplace, he highlighted stands that many Californians would favor: Urging the repeal of a Trump-era tax measure that hurts residents in high-tax states. Preventing in opposition to federal funding for the state’s troubled high-speed rail undertaking. Serving to army spouses preserve skilled licenses after they transfer.

“One yr in, and we’re simply getting began. California is dwelling, and it’s too good to surrender on,” Garcia wrote in a Might article in Santa Clarita’s the Sign newspaper. “We owe it to our youngsters to ensure that they’ve the identical unimaginable alternatives and warranted safety that this nation and this state afforded us.”

The congressman, whose district consists of northern Los Angeles County, omitted different components of his document: Voting in opposition to the certification of electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Arizona that helped cement Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Opposing the impeachment of President Trump for his position within the Jan. 6 riot. Standing in opposition to legalizing Dreamers and reauthorizing the Violence Towards Girls Act. Cosponsoring laws that might successfully ban all abortion and a few types of contraception.

Garcia, who gained his seat by 333 votes in November, is up for reelection subsequent yr in what is anticipated to be among the many most contested congressional races within the nation. Thousands and thousands of {dollars} will possible be spent on the race as a result of will probably be key to figuring out which occasion controls the Home.

Garcia’s portrayal of his document displays the dichotomy he’s straddling as he tries to maintain his GOP base united and energized whereas not alienating the rising variety of numerous, liberal voters in California’s 25th Congressional District.

A Republican who helps Garcia doesn’t agree with a few of his votes however thinks the congressman is positioning himself to be a rising star if the GOP takes management of the Home and he wins reelection.

“Let’s be trustworthy about it — he’s between a rock and a tough place. With a purpose to be efficient in D.C., he’s received to take positions that I feel generally should not supported by his district,” stated R. Rex Parris, the GOP mayor of Lancaster. “He’s strolling that tightrope greater than another man in Congress proper now.”

Political consultants say the stances the 45-year-old former Navy pilot has staked out replicate modern-day politics after 4 years of Trump, who centered on rallying his most ardent supporters on the expense of alienating voters within the center.

“It’s so essential now in each events to carry your base to win, particularly in legislative elections,” stated Raphael J. Sonenshein, government director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. “The query will not be, ‘Is he reflecting his district?’ The query is, ‘Is he reflecting his occasion in his district?’ And the reply is sure.”

Garcia declined to take part in an interview for this story.

He represents a area that features Simi Valley in Ventura County and the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County. As soon as a longtime Republican stronghold, the realm has grown much less conservative because the northern fringe of L.A.’s suburban sprawl has grown extra numerous. Democrats now have an 8-point voter registration edge, 39% to 31%, in keeping with the secretary of state’s workplace. No-party-preference voters make up one other 22% of the district’s voters.

The district may develop much more Democratic whether it is redrawn as a part of the decennial redistricting prompted by the 2020 census. Inhabitants fluctuations imply the state is dropping one in all its congressional seats for the primary time in its historical past. That seat is broadly anticipated to return from Los Angeles County, which may pull the 25th district right into a extra populated, liberal space.

In 2018, Democratic newcomer Katie Hill flipped the seat however she resigned a yr later after the unauthorized publication of intimate images and amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with subordinates.

Garcia gained the particular election to exchange her within the spring of 2020, after which the common election in November.

Republicans say they’re assured Garcia can be reelected as a result of the occasion that holds the White Home sometimes suffers losses within the first midterm and since Democrats have overreached of their healthcare, local weather change and spending proposals. Voters who lean Democratic, together with younger folks and minorities, are additionally much less more likely to vote in non-presidential elections.

“It’s actually arduous to take out an incumbent, particularly in a non-presidential yr,” stated Parris, Lancaster‘s mayor.

Parris disagrees with Garcia’s opposition to points comparable to a path for everlasting residency for younger folks introduced into this nation illegally, the reauthorization of the Violence Towards Girls Act and the certification of the electoral school leads to Arizona and Pennsylvania.

“I feel he was recognizing to ensure that him to turn into an influence within the Home, there have been sure issues he needed to do, and he did them, and I feel the district will profit in consequence,” he stated. “Lots of people have a nasty style of their mouth due to it, however I’d a lot moderately have somebody in there who can assist the district in issues that matter. And that’s cash.”

David Wasserman, a nonpartisan elections professional with the Cook dinner Political Report, agreed that Garcia could possibly be a strong participant in a GOP-led Home — if he is ready to cling onto his seat after redistricting.

“He’s a extremely prized member of the Republican convention due to his excessive profile in a Biden district, his biography and his willingness to vote to the fitting of his district. So there’s little doubt that if he had been to remain in Congress, he would have a shiny future in a Republican convention,” he stated. However “his profession could possibly be over in lower than two years.”

Democrats argue that Garcia has betrayed his constituents, and can pay for it on the poll field.

“He doesn’t care about his district. He cares about his base,” stated Stephen Daniels, host of the Discuss of Santa Clarita podcast.

Daniels is among the many locals who say that Garcia has modified since he first ran for workplace in a marketing campaign that leaned closely on his biography as a local son of the district whose mother and father had been Mexican immigrants. He was a fighter jet pilot who flew dozens of fight missions through the Iraq Conflict and later labored within the protection business.

Daniels discovered the candidate likable regardless of their opposing political opinions after they taped a podcast collectively early in his 2020 run.

“He struck me as a very nice man, somebody who’s extra about logic and looking out on the info than partisanship.” Daniels stated, including they developed a friendship and exchanged texts for a interval. “That’s modified fully. He has voted as a Trump acolyte frequently.”

Daniels labelled Garcia a “traitor” on Fb after the congressman voted to not certify the Arizona and Pennsylvania election outcomes the day of the riot. Garcia has declined to return to the podcast.

Daniels is mystified by Garcia taking positions that can alienate nearly all of his constituents.

“This District went for Biden by 10 factors. And [Garcia] gained by 333 votes,” Daniels stated. “For Mike Garcia to not take that under consideration — what sort of district he’s received — makes me surprise if he needs to be in Congress. He’s not considering very nicely. It is a purple district.”

Garcia’s slender victory came visiting Democrat Christy Smith as Democrat Joe Biden gained the district by greater than 35,000 votes.

Democrats blamed Smith’s loss on a mixture of things: liberals being demoralized after working arduous to get Hill elected; Smith operating a centrist marketing campaign that didn’t excite progressives and the occasion eschewing in-person canvassing due to the pandemic.

Smith is among the many Democratic candidates who’ve introduced they’re operating in opposition to Garcia subsequent yr. Others embody Simi Valley Councilwoman Ruth Luevanos, fight veteran John Quaye Quartey and Rhoda Nazanin, a undertaking supervisor on the Skirball Cultural Middle. Hill can be pondering a run.

Garcia’s district is one in all 22 that Democrats are already concentrating on for the 2022 election. The congressman was one in all a handful of GOP Home incumbents who raised greater than $500,000 within the first three months of 2021. In Might, he began operating radio advertisements in English and Spanish touting his background as a fighter pilot and calling for his reelection.

Garcia’s supporters argue he has been profitable in looking for his constituents, securing $20 million for infrastructure tasks and serving to greater than 1,000 individuals who had disputes with federal companies. He’s a well-known face within the district as a result of he returns to his Santa Clarita dwelling each weekend.

He has outlined methods he has bucked his occasion, comparable to supporting the renaming of army bases that honor Accomplice troopers and the $2,000 COVID stimulus checks, and has defined his votes to his constituents.

“… my votes and rules are anchored solely to the Structure and the nation,” he wrote in a Jan. 30 article within the Sign. “I’ve no blind loyalties to a celebration, to a president or to any particular person.”


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