During a “fireside chat” over Zoom last Thursday, former California Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) expressed there are no immediate plans for an electoral run in 2022, despite an abundance of support from constituents.
“I have money still to move over, we’ve still been raising a fair bit of money, we have an incredible donor base from all over the country,” Smith said. “There has been tremendous support for me to run again, especially with the margin that close. We lost a couple of California seats that we flipped in 2018, and the ones we lost we were closer. Certainly the support is there.”
The Santa Clarita Valley Democrats hosted the Zoom meeting to talk about her previous campaign for Congress, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) and the probability of running again to represent the 25th District.
The meeting was put together by the Santa Clarita Valley Democrats, a new community organization that focuses on “creating a local movement with increased emphasis on community involvement, opportunities for social connections, strategic election cycle planning and candidate training, and so much more,” according to the organization’s website.
Kelvin Driscoll, a former Santa Clarita City Council candidate of last year’s Santa Clarita City Council race, also spearheaded the meeting in asking Smith questions submitted by community members.
“I have to be in a space where I have the same level of commitment, the same joy, the same passion and the same feeling that I am doing it because the future that I am committing to is something better that I can leave to my kids, to your kids, and to go into it feeling ready to go,” Smith said about running again. “… So, I am working towards getting to the place where I have that feeling again, where I have that passion, where I have a legislative agenda that I want to act on that I know works for this district because that is a big important part of this job and I wish more people realized that… For me, it’s not about the title on the door. It’s about doing the job. So, if I’m going to commit to run again, it’s going to be because of that. Because I feel like I am still up to the fight to get me to the point where I can do the task of doing the job.”
A statement of candidacy to run for Congress in 2022 was filed to the Federal Elections Commission on Nov. 20, according to the FEC website.
Driscoll expressed concern surrounding Rep. Garcia and said, “It is embarrassing to know that despite the party politics of it all, our member of Congress is in that group that is voting to disenfranchise millions of people’s votes.”
Garcia retained his position in this election when he won over Smith by only a miniscule 333 votes.
“Some days, 333 votes feels like 3 million,” Smith said about the recent loss. “For everyone who was so keyed in, and thank you to everyone who volunteered with our recount and our extra days of counting efforts, know this: that 333 – I know was accurate. Garcia went on to right wing radio talk after that and said, ‘Well, you know, it was moot because we had lawyers in the room and we kept them from cheating.’ No, that was not what happened at all. I had a really great legal team who had wonderful relationships with our [Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk], as well as Ventura County [Clerk-Recorder, Registrar of Voters], who is an elected Republican… In a county as large as LA, our system really isn’t set up to get down to these microscopic matters of 333 votes, but it was. So when it came right down to it, every vote was accurately counted.”
Smith reflected upon the fact that in this election, 10,500 people voted in the presidential election, but did not vote in any of the races below it.
“What we know is, we had the biggest turnout we’ve ever had here, and as a Democratic Party for the Congressional ticket, we had 36,096 more votes than any Democrat has ever heard here,” Smith said. “Despite all odds, despite not being able to canvas, despite how hard we were getting hit, despite the Trump parades and all of the noise that was around us, we still outperformed every previous cycle. So that’s something to be proud of.”
Smith conceded on Nov. 30 after Garcia claimed victory 10 days prior. Suzette Valladares succeeded Smith as state assemblywoman for the 38th District.
Smith said she competed well against opponents by excelling at door-to-door canvassing while leaving in-person impressions with voters. However, due to COVID-19, she said her campaign was unable to canvas this year as she did in 2018. This inability to go door-to-door this election could have contributed to Smith’s loss.
Despite this, Smith explained she would not have gone against COVID-19 safety procedures to go door-to-door canvassing, even if it meant she would have won this race.
“People have asked me, ‘Would you have changed it? Would you have gone against [COVID-19] protocols and canvassed anyway?’ And the answer is no,” Smith said. “Because if the 333 votes meant the loss of one life, or one person hospitalized on a ventilator, then no. Absolutely not.”
Smith reflected upon accomplishments she had made during her previous term in the Assembly from 2018 to 2020, including her work on education, giving restitution to victims of human trafficking and passing 11 bills in the Assembly during the pandemic.
Santa Clarita Valley Democrats Chair Andrew Taban closed out the meeting by explaining that while the organization’s main goal is to get Democrats elected in Santa Clarita, the group is here to simply serve this community, and that “there will always be more that unites us than divides us.”
The organization can be found on social media @SCVDems, or through their website, www.scvdp.org.