As the June 5th primary draws closer, the battle to see which Democrat gets to face off against Steve Knight, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the country, has taken a turn for the nasty. Bryan Caforio, at one point the insurmountable favorite among Democrats to advance to the general election against Knight, has fallen into a heated tie with former non-profit executive Katie Hill, who has substantially out fundraised him over the last few months. Caforio’s response, as is typical of desperate campaigns, has been to go starkly negative, with hit-piece mailers that have ranged from blatant mischaracterizations to outright lies.
These hit pieces are all trying (and failing) to link Katie Hill to Congressman Knight and even President Trump, accusing her of being the equivalent of a Republican on a host of domestic issues. These mailers accuse her of supporting Donald Trump’s archaic healthcare bill from last year (she strongly opposed it), aligning with Trump on immigration (she obviously doesn’t), and agreeing with the Republicans on their tax cut bill (she fought against that too). One look at her issues page on her campaign website makes it clear very quickly that these attacks are lazy and just blatant falsehoods. Yet, in his latest slime job, Bryan Caforio has surpassed those efforts, and has done everything in his power to make it clear that he lacks the integrity and character worthy of a member of the House of Representatives.
This latest hit piece attacks Katie Hill for her nonprofit work, accusing her of “putting her salary ahead of homeless services.” It further goes on to accuse Katie of overseeing a poorly-run and poorly-funded operation, concluding that “There are enough Republicans in Washington who put themselves first.”
First of all, Katie Hill made $170,582 as the executive director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). It’s important to note how hilarious it is that a big shot trial lawyer who made over half a million in salary defending oil barons and other wealthy clients is attacking a young female nonprofit executive for making less than a third of his salary for running the largest homelessness nonprofit in the state of California.
Katie oversaw the expansion of the PATH budget from $5 million to $50 million a year, a skill set that, along with her experience managing federal contracts, will inevitably serve her well as a legislator (lord knows we need people who actually know how to handle money in Congress…). I would argue that out of the two, it is definitely not the person who spent years working hard to solve our homelessness crisis who is overpaid, based on value of work.
Furthermore, nonprofits like PATH have Boards of Directors that set executive compensation, so it’s laughable to say she “gave herself big pay raises.” Just another smear job from the Caforio camp with no basis in reality, that can easily be debunked with a 5 second Google search.
Finally, it’s really slimy to cite an article released in 2014, before Katie even became the executive director (and before she had a six-figure salary) to claim that she “put her salary before homeless services.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “ The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” By incessantly attacking his primary opponent with blatant and easily-disprovable lies, Bryan Caforio has showcased his own lack of integrity. Negative campaigning is typical in politics, but that does not mean that we should allow blatant lies to go unchallenged. Bryan Caforio owes it to the people he wants to represent to not insult their intelligence by lying to them. If he truly wants to be a leader, chosen by the people of the 25th Congressional District, he owes it to them to exhibit the qualities that truly make one a leader.
Ryan Skolnick is a millennial activist who focuses primarily on policy education. He currently serves as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party.