Campaign contributions for the last three months of 2017 indicate the 25th Congressional District will be home to a high-stakes primary battle with signature gatherers pounding the pavement trying to put candidates on the ballot and groups providing key endorsements.
Democratic candidate Katie Hill, the executive director for nonprofit People Assisting The Homeless, raised more money in the quarter than incumbent Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, or the other two key challengers, attorney Bryan Caforio or geologist Jess Phoenix. Hill raised $252,350.81 while Knight brought in $240,244.10, Caforio received $211,496.93 and Phoenix had $158,033.55.
“Katie is positioned fantastically,” said campaign spokesman Zack Czajkowski, noting she has $382,848.25 in cash on hand. “Having the most cash on hand of any challenger is significant. She is the candidate with the best chance of beating Steve Knight.”
Last weekend, volunteers for Hill’s campaign asked shoppers at Valencia Marketplace for signatures to put Hill’s name on the ballot in lieu of a $2,500 fee. Czajkowski said the deadline for signature gathering is next week and the threshold is 2,000 signatures.
“It’s a great way to get our name out there,” he said. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from our volunteers.”
Knight campaign spokesman Matt Rexroad said the congressman has more cash on hand—$794,747.79—than the other candidates and will not have to spend too much during the primary while other candidates empty their funds.
“Congressman Knight is in a phenomenal position,” Rexroad said. “I’d rather be in our position than be in any of theirs.”
While Caforio came in third in raising cash during the quarter, spokesperson Nicole DeMont said Democratic clubs and all 17 unions in the district have backed Caforio. Last weekend, Caforio earned nearly 73% of delegate votes in the California Democratic Party Pre-Endorsing Conference.
“It’s very clear to us where everything stands. (Caforio’s) focused on unifying the district,” she said, adding that Caforio was the only challenger in any of California’s targeted districts to receive a high enough percentage of the vote to be placed on the party’s consent calendar when they convene in San Diego at the end of the month.
Caforio and Hill’s camps said the endorsement of the party is not automatic, saying party bylaws allow for a motion to object the pre-endorsement.
Caforio has $377,203.39 in cash on hand while Phoenix has $110,187.58 on hand.
Phoenix could not be reached for comment.