Katie Hill came out on top of the three Democratic challengers to Congressman Steve Knight’s seat for the 25th Congressional District race after Tuesday’s primary.
Hill garnered 20.2 percent of the vote, beating Bryan Caforio’s third place at 18.3 percent. In early returns as mail-in ballots were counted, Caforio held a slim lead in the race to challenge Congressman Steve Knight in, but by the time all ballots were in, Hill was the second place winner.
Knight led the vote at 52.8 percent. Democratic challenger Jess Phoenix received 6 percent of the vote.
“We’re so incredibly proud of the race we won,” Hill said Wednesday morning. “I am beyond humbled and honored for the thousands of supporters we had, the people who came together to make this possible. Frankly we ran against some pretty impressive candidates, so the fact that we were able to come through is something that I’m honored to be a part of.”
Caforio wished Hill the best.
“While the final result did not turn out as we had hoped, Lisa (Caforio) and I are extraordinarily grateful to (all) who showed up to make their voices heard in what I believe is the most important election of our lifetimes,” he said in a statement. “Lisa and I decided to embark on this journey because we believe the future of our democracy is at stake as long as President Trump and his enablers in Congress remain in office. Please join us in spending every day for the next five months working to make sure this is Congressman Knight’s last term. Our community and our country deserve better.”
Phoenix said she was proud of the campaign she ran and was hopeful for the future.
“My goal was always to be a voice for science and evidence-based policy-making, and we’ve accomplished that,” she said. “As the only true grassroots campaign, we stretched every donation as far as possible and met thousands of phenomenal people along the way. I wish Katie Hill the best in the general election, and I’m hopeful that we can unite to replace Steve Knight in November.”
Knight pledged to continue his work in a post-primary statement Wednesday morning.
“I am thankful for the support I have received from voters as their elected representative in Congress,” he said. “I pledge to continue to advocate for our local veterans, small businesses and aerospace priorities in Washington. In our local community, I will work for solutions to problems such as I-5 congestion, CEMEX mining, opioid abuse and safety in our schools. I am grateful for the trust placed in these efforts and will continue to work every day for Southern California.”
Hill said her first priority before November will be on unification of the Democratic party.
“My first priority is to get together with the supporters of Bryan and Jess and make sure their concerns are fully addressed, so they can honestly feel excited to behind me and get behind this campaign,” she said. “And so they won’t feel like they’re voting for me just to beat Steve Knight.”
“I’m looking forward to a race focused on the issues with Steve Knight,” she added. “Ultimately I know I’m going to be accountable to this entire community if I have the honor and privilege of serving. That’s what I want this race to be about.”
The three challengers to Knight’s seat have seen millions of dollars pour into the race, with lots of attention from national media and celebrities, as well. Caforio, Phoenix and Katie Hill, combined with Knight, together spent almost $4 million in campaign financing.
Hill outraised her opponents with $1.38 million as of May 2018. Knight came in second place with $1.23 million, with Caforio at $1 million. Phoenix raised $500,000 off individual donors only.
Caforio and Knight won the June 2016 primary, with Caforio garnering 29 percent of the vote and Knight winning 48.3 percent.
In the general election of November 2016, Knight won with 53 percent of the vote.
When asked Tuesday about his thoughts as the incumbent candidate, Knight emphasized his work in the House that he believes voters see.
“I think voters see what we’ve done for veterans, for small businesses,” he said. “I think they know we’ve been working hard.”