California’s 27th Congressional seat may be decisive for a House majority
In California's hotly-contested 27th District, it's Democratic challenger George Whitesides (left) against Republican incumbent Mike Garcia (right). The race could prove decisive in the fight to control Congress. | AP photos

SANTA CLARITA, Calif.—The 2024 elections will determine the balance of forces in the House of Representatives. If it changes for the better, it will allow more space for the people’s movement to progress on critical issues in the coming period. However, failure to win a majority in the House could lead to continued Republican control of Congress. If Trump were also to win the presidency and the Senate, the MAGA forces would have no executive or legislative obstacles preventing them from implementing their fascist-like agenda found in Project 2025.

In one of the country’s most hotly-contested congressional races, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, 48, seeks his third term in Congress representing California’s 27th district in north Los Angeles County. This majority Latino district is in the north Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley areas of Los Angeles. It includes the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, and Santa Clarita. It is home to aerospace companies, defense contractors, and advanced manufacturing firms.

In an Op-Ed he wrote for a local paper, Garcia says, “Far-left progressive policies are failing Californians,” and “this November, the voters of CA-27 will have a choice between a Democratic Socialists of America-endorsed candidate who called for defunding the police, who marched with Black Lives Matter, who has a history of voting to raise your taxes, who wants to end Proposition 13, and who pushes policies that raise costs for working people—or a candidate who believes in standing with our law enforcement, unlocking American industry so workers can thrive, and fixing the inflation mess that crushes families in our district.” If you visit Rep. Garcia’s campaign website, the first message you see is, “I believe in capitalism.”

Garcia is a former U.S. Naval Officer and fighter pilot who later served 11 years as an executive for Raytheon, a leading military contractor. He was among the House Republicans who voted to reject electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania following the 2020 election and opposed Trump’s impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by his supporters. His endorsements include AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the California Pro-Life Council, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Garcia won the 27th Congressional District by 13 points in 2020 but by only 6 points in 2022. This year, the district is rated as a toss-up by both Roll Call and the Cook Report. Roll Call lists it as one of 10 congressional districts nationally that they consider at greatest possibility of flipping in November. The voter registration is 42% Democrat and 29% Republican, and the district is rated D+4 this election cycle. It was one of just five districts in the country where Biden’s margin of victory in 2020 was greater than double digits, but a Republican won the Congressional seat.

In February of this year, Garcia introduced the so-called “Voter Integrity and Defense Act” (H.R. 5189), addressing nonexistent issues of fraud at the ballot box and aiming in effect to limit the ability to vote. Aside from requiring voter ID at the polls, it would even require any individual voting by mail to include a copy of their valid photo ID with their returned ballot. He has also called for limitless funding for Israel’s war on the Palestinians: “They have done what they have needed to do to make sure that Hamas is effectively eradicated,” Rep. Garcia says. “They’re not done. And in my opinion, the United States needs to be bending over backwards to make sure the nation of Israel is getting what it needs to prosecute this campaign against Hamas.”

The Antelope Valley region has historically been conservative but has become less so in recent years as more families—particularly Black and Latino families—moved to the area in pursuit of cheaper housing, said Lawrence Becker, professor of political science at Cal State University Northridge.

Hoping to flip this congressional seat is 50-year-old former Fulbright scholar George Whitesides. Whitesides worked on President Obama’s transition team in 2008, then served as NASA’s Chief of Staff for the Obama administration. He was also the first CEO of Virgin Galactic, the human spaceflight company founded by Richard Branson.

Volunteers about to go out precinct walking on May 25 in Santa Clarita for George Whitesides and other Democratic candidates in the district. Whitesides is standing in the exact middle. PW

Whitesides says he is “committed to creating great jobs in the district, finding solutions to the wildfire crisis, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and protecting Social Security and Medicare for seniors.” He is a board member of the Antelope Valley Economic Development and Growth Enterprise (AV EDGE), working to grow jobs and businesses in the district, and he was awarded the Partners in Educational Excellence Award by the Antelope Valley Union High School District for his work supporting underprivileged students.

Given his leadership experience in space and technology and the importance of these industries in the district, he would likely make these legislative priorities should he be elected.

As the climate crisis worsens, the threat of more frequent and dangerous wildfires is especially important to California voters. Whitesides started Megafire Action, which is meant to help combat the huge fire crisis. With the climate crisis barreling toward us, he supports a just transition from fossil fuels. The League of Conservation Voters and California Environmental Voters have endorsed him.

Whitesides is also endorsed by the AFL-CIO, California Labor Federation, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, California Teachers Association, Voter Protection Project, Equality California, Senators Alex Padilla and Mark Kelly, and other elected officials. Also backing him are Asian Dems of L.A. County, Stonewall Democratic Club, SEIU, Reproductive Freedom for All, and the International Federation of Professional Technical Engineers (IFPTE)

The fight to win a House majority will require on-the-ground organizing, left-center unity working in broad coalitions to register new voters, and getting voters to vote up and down the ballot based on issues like the climate crisis, reproductive rights, labor rights, affordable housing, immigrant rights, defending and expanding LGBTQ rights, the fight against the fascist danger and more. Concentration is key to victory. California’s 27th Congressional is one of just a small number of districts nationally that could make a difference in this critical election cycle.


Richard Green
Richard Green

Richard Green is co-chair of the Southern California Communist Party USA and a member of the national CPUSA's Political Action Commission. Richard is an active member in a number of local groups working on issues of political action, peace, affordable housing, and support for organized labor and workers' rights.