‘The Young Turks’ Founder Cenk Uygur Loses Bid for Katie Hill’s Congressional Seat

Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Republican defense contractor Mike Garcia appear headed for a runoff

Cenk Uygur
Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for Politicon

Cenk Uygur, the host and creator of the progressive news and opinion program “The Young Turks,” lost his bid for the Congressional seat vacated by former California Rep. Katie Hill Tuesday night.

According to the New York Times, he came in fourth place, with about 5% of the vote in California’s 25th congressional district. In the lead were Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Republican defense contractor Mike Garcia, who appear headed for a runoff election, according to the Los Angeles Times. Former GOP Rep. Steve Knight, who lost his seat to Hill in 2018 and sought to get it back, was in third place.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the primary looked likely to produce two Smith-Garcia runoffs: one in May to fill Hill’s seat for the rest of 2020 and a second in November for the full two-year term beginning in January.

“Whether it is reporting on politics on his online media company The Young Turks, co-founding Justice Democrats and electing true progressives to office or founding Wolf PAC, an organization dedicated to getting big money out of politics, Cenk Uygur has been committed to rooting out corruption in Washington, ending the influence of big money on our politicians and fighting for policies that improve the lives of every single American,” Uygur’s campaign website reads. “Now he wants to bring that same fight to Congress for the people of California’s 25th district.”

Uygur was endorsed by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and got praise from then-Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Actor John Cusack also tweeted his support for Uygur when he announced his bid. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed him, too, but retracted the endorsement. He wrote at the time, “I hear my supporters who were frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign and I retract my endorsement.”