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California voters casting their ballots. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Republican Mike Garcia won a competitive special election on Wednesday against Democrat Christy Smith, a member of the State Assembly, for California's 25th Congressional District.

Why it matters: The seat was held by Republicans for over two decades before former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill flipped it in the 2018 midterms. But Hill resigned in her first term following allegations of improper relationships with her staff.

  • The seat will be up for grabs again this November. Both Garcia and Smith will meet, as they're both planning to compete for a full term.
  • Republicans are likely to use Wednesday's victory to argue that they can win back seats in 2020 that they've lost since the Trump presidency.

The state of play: Garcia held a 12-point lead over Smith as of Wednesday afternoon, with approximately 76% of precincts reporting, per the Washington Post. Some mail-in ballots remain outstanding, with absentee voting on the rise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Garcia wrote in a statement Wednesday afternoon: "I'm ready to get to work right away for the citizens of the 25th Congressional District."
  • Smith wrote in her concession statement: "While it's critical that we ensure every vote is counted and recorded, we believe that the current tally shows Mike Garcia is the likely victor in the May 12 special election. As such, I'd like to congratulate him."

Go deeper

When and how to vote in all 50 states

Expand chart
Data: RepresentUS; Note: Montana has told counties they can opt into universal vote-by-mail; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Millions of Americans who normally vote in person on election day will turn to early voting or mail-in ballots this fall — but that only works if you understand your state's election rules, deadlines and how to ensure your vote is counted.

Driving the news: Axios is launching an interactive resource, built on research by RepresentUs, a nonpartisan election reform group, to help voters across the country to get the information they need.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.