Pelosi endorses Christy Smith in race to replace Rep. Katie Hill

Democrat has been racking up endorsements from the California delegation

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has endorsed Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the special election for California’s 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has endorsed Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the special election for California’s 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted December 11, 2019 at 5:00am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking sides in the race to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill in California, endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith over liberal talk show host Cenk Uygur.

“I am proud to endorse Christy Smith because she will work to fight corruption, lower the cost of prescription drugs, fully fund public schools and build a strong middle-class economy that works for all Americans,” Pelosi said in a statement shared first with CQ Roll Call. 

Pelosi is one of Smith’s highest-profile backers to date, a sign that Democratic leaders want to coalesce around the assemblywoman ahead of a potentially competitive race in the 25th District, which is north of Los Angeles. 

Smith has also been backed by 13 other House members from California; both of the state’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris; and EMILY’s List, an influential group that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.

[Kamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in race to replace Katie Hill]

Smith is running in the March 3 special election to replace Hill, who resigned amid allegations of improper relationships with a campaign staffer, which she acknowledged, and a congressional staffer, which she denied. Hill defeated GOP Rep. Steve Knight by 7 points in 2018. Knight is running in the special election, along with several other Republicans.

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For the special election, the candidate who garners more than 50 percent of the vote will serve out the rest of Hill’s term, which runs through January 2021. If no one gets above 50 percent, the top two would advance to a May 12 election.

On the Democratic side, Smith faces Uygur, the host of the liberal “Young Turks” show, who does not live in the district. He has also faced recent criticism for reported past disparaging comments about women, the LGBTQ community, orthodox Jews and Muslims.

Hillary Clinton carried the 25th District by 7 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.