In the hotly contested horse race for California’s 25th Congressional District seat, Democratic challenger Bryan Caforio outraised and outspent incumbent Steve Knight in the most recent quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission – but Knight’s campaign has more money on hand and says it is poised for a big ad blitz in the final strides.
According to both campaigns’ financial-disclosure reports – which were due this past Saturday and are posted on the FEC’s website – Caforio’s campaign raised $586,673 in the period between July 1 and Sept. 30, compared to Knight’s $334,643.
Of Caforio’s $586,673 total contributions in the quarter, $412,773 came from individuals, while $173,900 came from various political committees, such as the state party committee, and political-action committees, or PACS.
Of the $334,643 raised by Knight’s campaign in the quarter, $133,743 came from individual donors, while $200,900 came from committees.
Federal election law caps individual donations to a particular candidate at $2,700 per election, while multi-candidate PACs are limited to $5,000 contributions for each candidate per election — as are state/district/local party committees and national party committees.
In the spending department, Caforio’s campaign listed $527,981 in operating expenditures for the quarter, while Knight’s team listed $489,923.
In the bigger picture – over the course of the entire contentious campaign — Team Caforio has also outspent Knight, but the GOP incumbent has outraised the Democrat overall, fueled by a big edge in committee and PAC contributions.
Since their campaigns began, Caforio’s team lists $971,606 in total operating expenditures compared to Knight’s $896,152.
But Knight has, overall, outraised Caforio — $1,376,196 for the Republican, $1,170,254 for the Democrat.
Knight owns that lead in overall contributions thanks in large part to committees and PACs — and mainly on the front end of the campaign rather than from the most recent quarter, the disclosure documents show.
While Caforio’s campaign lists $348,100 in committee/PAC contributions since he launched his challenge, Team Knight lists $860,576 in that category since the Republican began his re-election bid.
With three weeks left before Election Day, the bottom lines show Knight with $478,879 in “cash on hand,” compared to Caforio’s $225,852.
That foretells a big Knight push – or more precisely, push-back — down the stretch, the congressman’s campaign spokesman, Matt Rexroad, confirmed to The Signal on Monday.
“You can’t win a campaign in September or July, but you sure can in October,” Rexroad said of the impending push. “That’s as we planned.”
Knight has been the target of a steady stream of negative fliers – many funded by the state Democratic Party, not Caforio’s campaign committee — in which Caforio paints the incumbent as “too extreme” on issues ranging from abortion to Social Security to immigration.
Caforio has also said Knight took “nearly $50,000 in money from oil and gas interests” while staying silent on the Porter Ranch gas leak.
In addition, Caforio has linked Knight to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Following the recent video revelations of Trump denigrating women, Knight issued a statement saying, “I cannot support either candidate for President.’’ But Caforio’s campaign quickly fired back, saying Knight’s condemnation of Trump was insufficient.
Rexroad, meanwhile, said the “Congressman Knight has deep roots in the district, and a far greater percentage of his contributions have come from within the district.”
That’s been one focus of Knight’s campaign – alleging that Caforio is an outsider.
Knight – in a flier paid for by his campaign committee, not the state party — has painted Caforio as “a Beverly Hills trial lawyer who moved into our community less than a year ago” and quoted a newspaper article as calling him “a carpetbagger.”
A phone call to Caforio’s campaign office Monday afternoon was not returned.
The battle for the 25th District has been superheated from the start, with Democrats targeting the seat of the one-term incumbent Knight.
Knight has been labeled “the most vulnerable incumbent in California” by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan online newsletter. A big reason for that is a new demographic skew emerging in the district, with registered Democrats moving past Republicans by 5,842 voters as of Sept. 9, according to California’s Secretary of State’s office.
The district – which encompasses parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, which include segments of the Santa Clarita, Simi and Antelope valleys – recorded 141,686 Democrats and 135,844 Republicans as of Sept. 9. There are also 11,821 registered as either Independent or Green.
Knight is a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program,” designed to channel money to incumbents deemed vulnerable, according to Ballotpedia.com.
Meanwhile, Caforio is part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Emerging Races” programs, which targets “campaigns [that] are on track and working hard to put seats in play,” Ballotpedia reports.
To view each candidate’s complete campaign disclosure form, go to:
* For Knight
* For Caforio