By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With the race still too close to call, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia was leading his challenger, Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith, by less than 500 votes as of Wednesday morning for the 25th Congressional District seat.

Undated photos of 25th Congressional District candidates Christy Smith and Mike Garcia. (CBSLA)

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As of Wednesday, Garcia was leading by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9%, with only 422 votes separating the two. It’s unclear how many ballots are left to count. Garcia has 168,017 votes, to 167,595 for Smith.

The lead has changed hands several times since Nov. 3. At one point, Smith had a 1,287-vote lead, but that was erased.

The 25th Congressional District stretches from the Antelope Valley into Ventura County and includes the cities of Palmdale and Santa Clarita. Vote by mail ballots will continue to be accepted through Nov. 20 if they were postmarked by Election Day.

This is the fourth time in nine months Garcia has faced Smith.

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In March, Smith and Garcia finished one-two in a special election to fill the term of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned following the online release of personal photos and allegations of an extramarital affair with a staff member.

Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff was needed. 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 won and was sworn into Congress.

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

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The seat had long been held by Republicans until Hill’s 2018 victory over then Republican Rep. Steve Knight.