Rep. Steve Knight gets crushed in final fundraising haul before midterms

Congressman Steve Knight

Democratic challenger Katie Hill raised an astounding $3.8 million in the last three months.

Democrat Katie Hill raised more than $3.8 million in the last three months as she seeks to oust incumbent Republican Congressman Steve Knight.

Hill’s fundraising haul is the most money raised by any candidate in any fiscal quarter running in California’s 25th Congressional District, according to a statement from the Hill campaign. This funding brings Hill’s fundraising total to $6.5 million.

“This quarter’s fundraising numbers prove what we already knew — this community is ready for change,” Hill said in a statement.

In contrast, Knight only managed to raise $456,000 in the third quarter, not even an eighth of what Hill brought in.

This is the third quarter in a row where Hill has raised more than Knight.

“Fundraising is an outgrowth of intensity,” Ken Spain, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s communications director in 2010, said in April.

Furthermore, Knight is an incumbent, which is usually an advantage in fundraising. “A big plus to being a political incumbent is the easy access to campaign cash,” says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yet Knight, one of the country’s most vulnerable Republicans, monumentally failed to keep pace with a first-time candidate for elected office.

Hill and Knight are running a close race in a district that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. Over the past few years, registered Democrats have overtaken registered Republicans in the district, and recent polls show Hill with a slight advantage.

Despite the moderate leanings of the district, Knight has emerged as one of Trump’s most loyal acolytes in Congress. Not only did Knight support Trump in the 2016 election, but Knight also backed Trump’s agenda 99 percent of the time in Congress.  Knight’s close ties to Trump were a main topic during a recent debate between Hill and Knight.

Some local groups were impressed by Hill’s fundraising prowess, and equally unimpressed with Knight’s comparatively paltry haul.

“These numbers don’t lie — support for Rep. Steve Knight is dwindling to almost nothing,” said a statement from the SoCal Healthcare Coalition. “Voters know he’s repeatedly voted to take away their health care.”

The statement concluded, “These campaign finance records show there’s no support for sending Knight back to Washington, D.C.”

Most election experts rate the race a toss-up, but that was before Hill’s record-breaking fundraising numbers. Given the expensive Los Angeles-area media market, Hill’s ability to dominate the airwaves could be an important edge in a close race.

The election is on Nov. 6, and California residents are able to vote by mail.