Special Congressional elections were held recently in 2 districts, and the GOP came away with 2 seats.
WI-7, a rural Wisconsin district that is reliably red, remained in GOP control after Republican Tom Tiffany won his election by a large margin. Tiffany is replacing longtime Congressman Sean Duffy, who resigned to attend to family health issues.
CA-25 is a different story however. This district had long been a Republican stronghold located just outside of deep-blue Los Angeles. Democrats began to have success here in 2016 when Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump, and then finally won the district in 2018 when the now-resigned “throuple” enthusiast Katie Hill won as part of the “blue wave” that took control of the house for the Dems.
Republican Mike Garcia regained CA-25 for the GOP after a solid win over Democrat Christy Smith. Trump had been endorsing Garcia prior to the election. Smith had been making a strong push, with help from the LA Times. Both candidates spent more than $2 million to make a run at this seat.
It’s hard to say what this means going forward. The Wisconsin seat provided no surprise, so there wasn’t much to be learned there. WI-7 is a conservative district in a very important state. The outcome was as expected.
The result in suburban LA may be more meaningful. Trump isn’t going to win California, but a GOP victory in this type of district is a welcomed sign for the GOP. It’s a step forward in re-gaining the losses from the horrific 2018 midterms in which the democrats gained over 40 seats in the house.
Affluent suburban districts have been trending democratic since Trump won in 2016. Blue-collar areas that typically voted Democrat have been trending toward the right.
Another notable fact from this election was that this was the first time since 1998 that a Congressional district in California went from blue to red.
Garcia’s win may signify a pushback against the left in these types of areas. It’ll be interesting to see if the CA-25 results are the beginning of the right winning back the suburbs, especially in swing states. It’s also worth noting that this was a mail-in election. The narrative that Democrats benefit from higher turnout and easier access to voting was certainly challenged here, but it is still only 1 election we’re talking about here.
The suburbs will once again be an important battleground, and what seemed to be a distinct advantage for Democrats might be much more of a toss up than many believe.