The November 6 election is still months away, but Congressman Steve Knight’s friends at the National Rifle Association (NRA) are already spending money to bolster his struggling campaign. The Palmdale Republican is in one of the nation’s most-watched congressional races, running against Democratic opponent Katie Hill.
In mid-August, the NRA began spending on campaign materials to both help Knight and oppose Hill. According to data collected by ProPublica, the NRA spent more than $500 to help Knight, and another $500 to oppose Hill. The funds were spent on palm cards and door hangers.
In this election, Knight needs all the help he can get. Even though incumbent members of Congress typically have an advantage in fundraising, Hill outraised Knight consistently over the past few reporting periods.
Knight is falling behind even though he has accepted campaign donations from dubious sources.
Weeks before voting on the unpopular tax bill, Knight’s campaign cashed a $2,500 check from a group backed by the Koch brothers, widely known for their support of the bill. Despite the harm the tax bill would cause his own constituents, Knight supported it.
In another instance, Knight refused to distance himself from a veterans group with ties to a shady charity accused of deceptive fundraising practices.
It is no surprise that the NRA is investing early in Knight’s campaign. After all, Knight has consistently received an A rating from the group. Hill received an F rating.
And despite a year where students and constituents spoke out passionately about the need for better gun-safety legislation, and a school shooting in his own district injured a student, Knight maintains his A rating from the NRA. In fact, Knight even skipped a forum on gun violence sponsored by students.
Knight’s opponent Hill is endorsed by Giffords, the gun-safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Hill has owned guns her whole life, but is still calling for measures to help curb gun violence in America.
Most national-election watchers list the race between Knight and Hill as a toss-up.
In a year when polls consistently show people want more gun-safety legislation, the NRA is hoping to keep their champion Knight in Congress to stop them from getting it.