Former fighter pilot files to challenge Rep. Hill in 2020

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A former Navy fighter pilot announced April 11 that he will challenge first-term Rep. Katie Hill in 2020, arguing that the Democratic agenda is out of step with the district anchored in northern Los Angeles County.

Republican Mike Garcia said in a statement April 11 that he’s disgusted that Washington Democrats “are voting in lockstep with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push a socialist agenda that jeopardizes everything we’ve risked blood and treasure to defend,” referring to the New York congresswoman.

Hill won the district in 2018, capturing what was the last Republican-held House seat in strongly Democratic Los Angeles County.

She defeated Republican Rep. Steve Knight, as part of a Democratic rout of GOP-held House seats in California.

Democrats hold a nearly 5-point registration edge in the district, which includes suburbs, horse ranches and high desert in northern Los Angeles County and a slice of Ventura County.

The 42-year-old Garcia is an executive for defense contractor Raytheon. His campaign said he flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In a statement, Hill thanked Garcia for his military service and welcomed him to the race, in which two other Republicans have also filed to run.

“I know how tough these primaries can be,” Hill said. “I wish them all luck.”

Democrats picked up seven Republican-held House seats in California in 2018, sweeping districts where Hillary Clinton had defeated then-Republican candidate Donald Trump in 2016 and helping the party retake control of the House.

Garcia’s statement did not mention the president.