Assemblywoman Christy Smith at press time held on to a tight but unsteady lead against Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia in the race for the seat in 25th Congressional District.

In one of the closest Southland congressional races in recent memory, California election officials reported 100 percent of the same-day vote had been counted by Wednesday, but thousands of mail-in, provisional and conditional registration ballots were still uncounted at press time. Mail-in ballots can be received and counted for as many as 17 days after the election, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

As of Wednesday morning, Smith had 50.5 percent of the vote, to Garcia’s 49.5 percent, or 131,218 votes to Garcia’s 128,462 votes. Smith is hoping to avenge an earlier loss to Garcia and take back the seat for the Democratic Party.

It is technically the fourth time in nine months the duo has faced off at the ballot box. In March, Smith and Garcia finished one-two in a special election to fill out the term of Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned following the online release of salacious photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.

On that same ballot, Smith and Garcia also topped essentially the same field of candidates in a separate primary race to fill Hill’s seat for the next two years. In May, Smith and Garcia squared off in the runoff of the March special election to complete Hill’s original term, and Garcia emerged victorious and was sworn into Congress.

The winner in the current race will take over the seat for the next two years.

The 25th District stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County. It was one of several Southland districts targeted by Republicans after sweeping losses the party suffered in 2018.