For almost two years, Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) has obediently done Trump’s bidding in Congress.
When Trump needed support for a health care plan that would have cut thousands of Californians off from access to health insurance, Knight supported Trump.
When Trump needed votes for an unpopular tax bill that raised taxes on thousands of families in Knight’s own district, Knight sided with Trump over his own constituents.
In fact, Knight backs the Trump agenda 99 percent of the time in Congress, putting him atop the list of Trump’s most loyal and reliable acolytes. When it comes to how Knight votes, there is no daylight between his agenda and Trump’s agenda.
After months and months of subservience to Trump, Knight finds himself in a very close re-election race and is all of a sudden seeking to portray himself as an independent voice.
“In a sign of the his vulnerability, Knight has been distancing himself from some of President Donald Trump’s policies,” says CNBC.
Knight’s vulnerability is evident in both polling and fundraising.
Knight trails Democratic challenger Katie Hill in the latest L.A. Times poll by four points, 50-46. “When you’re an incumbent member of Congress and you’re under 50 percent, that’s never great,” Lawrence Becker, a political science professor at California State University-Northridge, told CNBC.
In fundraising, Hill has outraised Knight in each of the previous two quarters. In addition to overall fundraising, FiveThirtyEight data shows Hill raising significantly more from individuals (as opposed to political action committees) than Knight.
The fact that an incumbent is being outraised by a challenger is a major red flag, according to election experts.
In California’s 25th Congressional District, where Knight and Hill are running, Trump’s approval rating is a dismal 45 percent, with more than half of voters disapproving of him. Yet the views of constituents has not stopped Knight from siding with Trump virtually every time.
Knight’s staunch loyalty to Trump was first evident in November 2016 when Knight voted for Trump.
Knight has shown constituents who he is over and over and over again. His actions — his votes — are solidly aligned with Trump and the Trump agenda.