With 76 percent of the votes counted on Wednesday, Republican Mike Garcia held a commanding lead over Democrat Christy Smith in the state's 25th district — 56 percent to 44 percent.
- A win for Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, would be the first time the GOP had flipped a blue California congressional seat since 1998.
- Smith said it was "too early" to call the race.
- Trump also congratulated Republican Tom Tiffany for exceeding expectations by easily winning another Tuesday special election in Wisconsin.
Some took special pleasure in anticipation of reclaiming the swing district from Hill, who was a rising progressive star in her party.
How the left is coping: Many liberals on Twitter bitterly denied that Garcia's performance portends a Trump victory in 2020.
Left-wing blogger Bill Palmer dismissed those celebrating the election results as "Trump idiots," noting that California's 25th district was in GOP hands for decades prior to Hill's 2018 election.
Others looked back in anger at Hill's resignation, with some echoing her claims to be the victim of America's "misogynistic culture."
"Fvck all those who sex-shamed Katie Hill into resigning," said one Democratic activist.
Winnie Wong, a progressive activist and former adviser to Bernie Sanders, singled out Hill's estranged husband, whom the ex-congresswoman has accused of leaking the information that led to her resignation and of being "abusive."
"Katie Hill's ex is a fucking asshole," Wong said. "If that had been my ex, i'd have FUCKED. HIM. UP."
Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics lawyer turned Trump critic, said the Democrats were "stupid" to push out Hill over what he deemed an overblown scandal.
- He predicted "this nonsense" would encourage "Putin admirers" to meddle in 2020.
- She denied having sex with her male congressional aide, which would be a violation of House Ethics rules.
- But she admitted to an “inappropriate” relationship with a female member of her campaign staff, who also appeared in the nude images.
In addition to Trump, Garcia was backed by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Hillary Clinton, who won California's 25th district by 7 points in the 2016 election, has joined former President Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats in endorsing Smith.
Earlier this week, Hill called on her former constituents to defy Trump and "protect this seat" from Republicans.
"Vote life your life depends on it," she urged.