Outside help saved Rep. Steve Knight’s dismal fundraising from being even worse

Rep. Steve Knight

Rep. Steve Knight is underwater in polls and struggling to raise campaign funds, relying heavily on outside help to keep him afloat.

News just keeps getting worse for Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale). Between lackluster fundraising numbers and polls that regularly show he’s unpopular with voters, he could really use some good news.

But that isn’t happening today.

An L.A. Times report shows that Knight’s fundraising struggles are worse than previously reported. A significant part of his campaign is being kept afloat through the joint fundraising PAC California Victory 2018, led by Vice President Mike Pence. More than 1 in 4 dollars raised by Knight in the last six months came from this source, meaning that without it Knight would be in even deeper fundraising trouble.

Victory California 2018 gave Knight $133,000 over the past six months, accounting for 28 percent of his total fundraising.

A significant majority — almost 60 percent — of Knight’s fundraising comes from political action committees, or PACs. For example, the following PACs have made donations of at least $5,000 to Knight: More Conservatives PAC, Patriot Day I PAC, Majority Committee PAC, and CMR PAC.

In contrast, the two Democrats challenging Knight who have raised the most money, Katie Hill and Brian Caforio, raised less than one percent and six percent, respectively, from PACs.

Many politicians talk about the amount of funds raised from “small dollar” donors who donate less than $200 to a campaign. Small campaign donations can be indicative of grassroots enthusiasm, according to elections experts.

Knight, however, hasn’t said a word about this topic. His campaign has raised only one percent of campaign contributions from small dollar donors.

Knight’s campaign is reliant on corporate PACs, outside funding, and assistance from Trump’s vice president to keep his campaign going. As Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Drew Godinich notes, “Vulnerable California House Republicans can’t claim to be independent of the toxic Republican agenda when they’re relying on Paul Ryan and the Trump White House to bail out their increasingly endangered re-election campaigns.”

Knight’s voting allegiance seems to follow his financial allegiance, aligning clearly with Trump’s agenda over what his constituents want.

Unfortunately for Knight, recent polls show voters significantly unhappy with him. A solid majority of his constituents are disinclined to re-elect him, with half of his voters “strongly” disinclined to send him back to Congress again. His positions on health care legislation and the Republican tax bill are particularly unpopular with his district.

Knight’s weak fundraising and poor performance in polls have secured him a slot as not only one of the Democrats top targets in the 2018 election, but also “California’s most vulnerable incumbent.”

News cycles showing Knight desperate for outside financial help in order to keep his campaign afloat will likely only further energize his opponents.