Our View: Vote Steve Knight for Congress

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The moment the Washington Democratic political machine identified California’s 25th Congressional District as vulnerable to party takeover, the Nov. 8 race was no longer about local interests. It was all about Washington politicking.

Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, completing his first two-year term in office, is not facing local Democrat Lou Vince in the race, as local Democrats wanted.

Rather, he’s running against Bryan Caforio, a Yale-educated attorney from West Los Angeles who moved to the district less than a year before the June primary and who’s running the negative campaign playbook from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The DCCC is “the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives,” according to the committee’s own website. Its “principal mission is to support Democratic House candidates every step of the way to victory.”

Apparently stepping right over Democrats who live in its target district, who were told to move aside for the Washington elite’s anointed.

All the DCCC wants is to win back a Democratic majority in the House, and it intends to hijack California’s 25th Congressional District to accomplish that goal.

This race is not about local issues and what the voters of the Santa Clarita, Simi, Antelope or northern San Fernando valleys want. Nor is it about character, competency and civility, the qualities we value in candidates.

In fact, in a letter sent to the Los Angeles Times, Vince himself, the Agua Dulce Democrat whom Caforio elbowed out of the race in June, said he will vote for Knight.

“Steve Knight isn’t perfect — I’ve opposed him on issues like climate change and health care,” the Times reported Vince wrote in the letter. “But I know Steve, I’ve known him for many years. While we may disagree on policy issues, he is a man of integrity and genuinely believes he is doing the right thing.”

We’ll take integrity over mud-slinging any day.

Knight grew up in the Antelope Valley, served in the Army and as a Los Angeles Police Department officer, was elected to the Palmdale City Council, to the state Assembly and to the state Senate before winning his congressional seat in 2014 by defeating fellow Republican Tony Strickland, who outspent Knight by a wide margin.

During his two years in office Knight has made more progress against the Cemex mine than his predecessor did during more than 20 years in office; he sponsored legislation to support the aerospace industry and its jobs, improve medical care for veterans, improve small businesses’ chances to win federal contracts and reduce the chances of another Aliso Canyon gas leak; he held two small business workshops in the Santa Clarita Valley and otherwise supported local small businesses; he assisted more than 1,000 district residents with federal government issues; and he nominated more than 30 high school seniors to military academies.

These are the issues that residents of the 25th Congressional District care about. Knight flies back to his district nearly every weekend to be available to his constituents.

Caforio’s negative campaign machine loves to paint Knight as a far-right misanthropist – a hater of seniors, women, immigrants and any other group that the Democratic Party thinks will be receptive to Democratic rhetoric.

One Caforio attack ad, like all of them adorned with an unflattering photo of the congressman, trumpets Knight’s “terrifying prescription for women’s health” on one side. The flip side pairs the same Knight photo with one of Donald Trump, clearly taken separately, and headlines it with “Steve Knight and Donald Trump would eliminate women’s health care options,” partaking – as we noted earlier in this endorsement series – of the low-hanging fruit in the current campaign: Trump’s presidency.

The kernel of truth behind this particular line of the Democratic elite’s drive for the 25th District is that Knight is pro-life.

It’s a personal conviction, not a campaign platform. Knight has not introduced legislation to overturn Roe v. Wade, nor has he indicated he would do so.

Unlike his opponent, Knight is a man of convictions who does not spout party lines. While campaigning two years ago he took a moderate stand on immigration, in contrast to the Republican Party’s stand at the time.

His convictions have been his own; he explains his reasoning and stands on his beliefs. In short, we agree with Vince: He is a man of integrity, not party politics.

Asked if they value integrity over party-line loyalty, most voters would say “yes.” Ironically, it’s Knight’s bold honesty that makes him easy prey for Democratic negative campaign attacks.

And sadly, as he shared with The Signal Editorial Board this week, those negative ads – funded by Washington elite politicians and appearing daily in Santa Clarita Valley mailboxes – are having an impact, driving down his approval rating.

We urge a vote for Knight on Nov. 8 to continue his service to residents of the 25th Congressional District – and to send a message to the DCCC that Washington elites won’t dictate Simi, Santa Clarita and Antelope valley representation in Congress.

Continuing next week: Signal endorsements of City Council, statewide ballot measures.

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