Rep. Steve Knight is number one!
Knight was given an assist when fellow Southern California Republican Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa decided to retire rather than face tough re-election contests. Those seats rank as the top two seats to switch to Democratic control, with Knight as the most vulnerable incumbent.
In describing why Knight tops their list, the L.A. Times notes, “With Los Angeles County becoming more and more Democratic, Knight has become the last congressional Republican to represent it, and he has a number of well-qualified candidates challenging him.”
Demographics are indeed changing in Knight’s district. Latinos make up a third of the constituency there, and almost one in four registered voters. Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric and anti-immigrant policy proposals has caused Latino antipathy toward him to grow over the course of 2017, according to polling from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).
With more than four out of five Latinos disapproving of Trump, Knight’s loyalty to the president could spell disaster.
Before voting on the deeply unpopular tax bill, only one in three voters in his district approved of his job performance. The one thing less popular than Knight was support for the tax bill, at only 30 percent.
Yet when Trump needed Knight to vote for higher taxes on his constituents, Knight jumped at the opportunity. Even though the bill will cause more than 34,000 of his constituents to lose health insurance, he still stood by Trump in the face of opposition from his constituents.
Enthusiasm seems to be building quickly — and forcefully — against Knight.
Topping a list as California’s most vulnerable incumbent lawmaker is just the latest sign that Knight’s second term in Congress may be his last.