Once again, Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) raised less campaign cash than a leading Democratic opponent.
For the first quarter of 2018 (January through March), Democratic challenger Katie Hill raised $421,000, while Knight pulled in only $347,000. In a press release about her fundraising, Hill said she believed “people are ready for change,” adding, “Across the country we are seeing the desire for true representation of communities.”
Knight did not release a statement about his fundraising performance.
This makes the second quarter in a row that Knight trailed Hill in fundraising. And Hill is not the only Democratic challenger raising a competitive amount of campaign cash.
Brian Caforio, who narrowly lost to Knight in 2016, raised $316,000 in the first quarter of this year. In a statement, Caforio’s campaign manager, Nicole DeMont, took aim at Trump, saying “people all over this District are eager to elect a representative who will stop Donald Trump’s attacks on our healthcare, on women, on immigrant families, and on facts themselves.”
Knight has been a rubber stamp for Trump, voting the way Trump wants 99 percent of the time. Before the 2016 election, Knight said he was “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s admission to being a serial sexual predator. But Knight still voted for Trump, and he’s been one of the most reliable allies Trump has in Congress ever since.
Jess Phoenix, another Democratic challenger, raised $124,000. Phoenix claims the honor of having the most individual contributions, with more than 6,000 people donating over the course of the campaign. “Our campaign’s message is about expanding who is involved in politics, and we are continuing to run a strong campaign that best reflects our values,” Phoenix said.
Knight is struggling not only in fundraising, but in polling as well. The L.A. Times regularly names him as the most endangered incumbent in California, and polls show his positions on repealing the Affordable Care Act and support of the tax bill are deeply unpopular in his district.
In addition, Knight’s A rating from the NRA has drawn ire in the wake of a nationwide student-led movement calling for commonsense gun control. Knight recently skipped a community forum on the issue, letting his NRA endorsement and record of voting to loosen gun restrictions speak for itself.
One student demanded Knight return “blood money” from the NRA, a request Knight has thus far ignored.
Knight’s district voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and voter registration numbers now show more Democrats than Republicans in the district. Knight’s fundraising struggles continue a troubling trend if he hopes to stave off a “blue wave” in November.