Mike Garcia is a 44-year-old former Navy pilot who flew more than 30 combat missions in the second Iraq war. Garcia became the first Republican to take back a House district that Hillary Clinton carried in the 2016 presidential election.
How Garcia Did It
From John McCormack in National Review:
- Résumé Straight out of Central Casting
Garcia grew up in the district, attended the Naval Academy, and served his country in war. Garcia on being a first-generation immigrant:
I was a first-generation immigrant. My father and my grandfather came here and started from the ground up and created a great small business in the construction business,” Garcia says. “We were taught to work hard, we were taught to earn every dollar that we make, take pride in our country and be a patriot.
Garcia’s Democratic opponent, Assemblywoman Christy Smith, certainly didn’t help herself with comments mocking Garcia in a way that only drew more attention to his impressive record of service: “Did you guys know he’s a pilot? I . . . you know . . . it had escaped me,” Smith said in an April 25 Zoom call with supporters. “OK, he’s got pictures of planes behind him and I’ve got constitutional-law books.”
- District Not as Democratic as It Seems?
Katie Hill took over the seat in 2018 with a nine-point victory, and Hillary Clinton carried it by seven points in 2016. But even as the district voted against Trump in 2016, Republican congressman Stephen Knight won by six points.
One thing that changed between 2016 and 2018 was that Knight voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which capped the deduction for state and local income taxes at $10,000 and effectively hiked the federal tax bills of a number of people who live in high-tax states, including California.
- Garcia a Mainstream Conservative
- Immigration: Garcia wants to build the wall and secure the border before talking about granting a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
There’s about eight things that need to happen before we have any amnesty or DACA discussions. I am a true conservative, and I believe in business, growth, free-market capitalism, the Constitution.
During the campaign, Garcia hit Smith for voting to raise taxes and “killing the gig economy” by voting for a bill that reclassified independent contractors as full-time employees.
- Coronavirus, an Unknown
When asked if he thinks California Democrats are too slow to lift restrictions on economic and social activity, Garcia offers a general critique.
“These are politicians who have never really had to be accountable for having a small business or running a large business for that matter. They don’t really understand the economic implications of what they’re doing,” he says. “There will be life-and-death consequences to all of these decisions. But we absolutely have to figure out how to get back to work and do it in a responsible way that mitigate the risks of spreading the virus. But we also have to do it as quickly as we can.”