Primary results paint unsettling picture for vulnerable Rep. Steve Knight

Congressman Steve Knight

Since the last midterm primary, Democrats increased their percent of the vote by 16 percent while Congressman Steve Knight's Republican Party decreased by 13 percent, showing a district shifting toward Democrats.

With all the primary votes counted in California, an analysis of votes by the New York Times shows Democrats are significantly more enthusiastic than Republicans in 2018, especially in competitive districts. Turnout numbers are especially worrying for Republican incumbents like Congressmen Steve Knight (Palmdale), who has often been called one of America’s most vulnerable Republicans and will face Democratic candidate Katie Hill in November.

“Democratic turnout has risen more sharply than Republican turnout in at least 123 congressional districts, including districts where Republican incumbents are most vulnerable, in states like California and New Jersey,” writes the New York Times.

The analysis looks at the vote totals from the 2014 primary compared to the 2018 primary, comparing the most recent midterm election cycles.

In 2014, a Democratic candidate in California’s 25th Congressional District did not receive enough votes to make it to the general election. Knight and fellow Republican Tony Strickland won the top two spots in the primary. In that primary election, Republican candidates took 65.0 percent of the vote, and Democratic candidates received only 31.7 percent.

Only four years later, Knight won a mere 52.8 percent of the vote, while Democrats won 47.2 percent. The dramatic loss of more than 13 points by Knight, and the increase of more than 16 for Democratic candidates, could have many factors. According to the New York Times, midterm elections “often hinge on voter enthusiasm: Without a presidential race to draw casual voters to the polls, the party out of power tends to benefit from disproportionate turnout among Americans who feel angry or aggrieved about politics in Washington.”

In conversations with SoCal Daily, residents in Knight’s district are showing signs of frustration, describing their current congressman with terms like “horrible human being” and “idiot.”

In a district that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, Knight nevertheless voted to support the Trump agenda 99 percent of the time, including votes to gut the Affordable Care Act and support of the unpopular Republican tax bill. Those votes have helped increase health care premiums for Californians and drive up taxes for Knight’s own constituents.

On immigration, Knight recently suggested locking up immigrant families for years in government-run detention centers, an idea eerily reminiscent of World War II internment camps.

While the district now has more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, and even though there is a surge of Democratic voters, Knight continues to wholeheartedly stand by Trump when it comes to voting in Congress.

His votes seem wildly out of touch with the people he was elected to represent, further evidenced by his anemic performance in the recent primary.