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Cenk Uygur finished fourth out of 12 candidates for a seat in California’s 25th Congressional District. (Photo by Gage Skidmore | CC BY-SA 2.0)

1992 Wharton graduate Cenk Uygur, a former Daily Pennsylvanian columnist and the creator of the progressive news and opinion outlet The Young Turks, lost his bid for a congressional seat in one of California’s most competitive congressional districts on Tuesday.

Uygur finished fourth out of 12 candidates in the special primary election for former Rep. Katie Hill’s (D-Calif.) seat, earning approximately 5% of the vote, The New York Times reported. The race will likely end in a runoff between Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Republican defense contractor Mike Garcia to fill Hill’s seat for the rest of 2020.

Hill resigned from her seat as the representative for California’s 25th Congressional District amid accusations of affairs with members of her congressional and campaign staff — a violation of House rules, The Los Angeles Times reported

The district, which includes Simi Valley, Porter Ranch, Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and part of Lancaster, was once a Republican stronghold but has become more of a toss-up as the population diversified, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading Democratic presidential contender, endorsed Uygur in the race, The Wrap reported. Sanders faced considerable backlash for his endorsement because of Uygur's history of offensive comments against women, Jews, and Muslims. Sanders later retracted his endorsement after Uygur rejected all endorsements for his campaign, The Wrap reported. 

Uygur had never previously run for elected office. The Young Turks currently has 4.66 million subscribers on YouTube.

“I’ve reported for years about the corruption happening in Washington and I am more convinced than ever that we have to get money out of politics!” Uygur wrote in his campaign website. “Only when we end corruption in Washington, will we return to representing the people. I’m running to help bring our democracy back to the people.”

After his defeat, Uygur tweeted congratulations to Democrat Christy Smith, who received the most votes. Uygur encouraged unity in the Democratic Party and thanked his supporters. 

“I’m sorry I didn’t do better for you guys, but your hopeful hearts will change this country!” Uygur tweeted

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