In the third quarter leading up to the Nov. 6 midterm election, 25th Congressional District challenger Katie Hill outraised incumbent Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, by more than $3 million.
Between fundraising and transfers from other committees, the Hill campaign reported raising $3.8 million from July 1 to Sept. 30, while the Knight campaign reported raising $455,819 in the same period, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
Hill’s campaign had $3.2 million from fundraising alone, while Knight’s fundraising total was $376,615.
As of Sept. 30, Hill’s cash on hand total was $2.3 million. Knight’s cash on hand total was $419,889.
The candidates’ totals raised so far this election were Hill at $6.2 million and Knight at $2.1 million.
“It’s definitely a sign of the momentum,” Hill said of her fundraising totals. “It continues to show we have the enthusiasm (of volunteers) combined with the boots on the ground we’re seeing. In a single weekend we knocked on 45,000 doors and if you combine those efforts with the fundraising, then we feel like we’re in a great position for this election.”
Knight acknowledged Hill’s lead, but said he was focusing on telling his constituents about his accomplishments.
“She’s a good fundraiser,” he said. “ActBlue has very been proactive for raising money for her, and it’s been very good. But it’s not all about the money.
“We try to run on our voting record,” the congressman said. “I think people know we have the best veteran’s care here in our district, we have small-business issues we are addressing and aerospace-related accomplishments. I submitted nine amendments to the (National Defense Authorization Act) that all have a direct impact on our district. If this was all about fundraising, then why would you have a congressman? Don’t you want a congressman who actually does something for you?”
The National Rifle Association sent out $4,000 to Knight’s campaign in 2018, according to the updated finance records. Of that total, $1,500 was formally declined, while $2,500 was mistakenly deposited, but subsequently refunded because Knight had pledged earlier this year to decline money from the NRA, campaign spokesman Matt Rexroad said on Sept. 19.
Last month, the NRA’s political action committee records showed its donations to Knight’s campaign this election cycle were: $1,000 in July 2017, $1,500 in May 2018, and $2,500 in July 2018, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
When asked on a local podcast in August if he had recently taken money from the NRA, Knight said he didn’t.
Updated campaign finance records for this quarter reflect a contribution of $2,500 was refunded, with the date of disbursement marked as Sept. 19 — the same day Rexroad acknowledged that the contribution previously had been received and mistakenly deposited before being refunded to the NRA.
Rexroad said the $2,500 contribution was mailed to the campaign’s treasurer, who deposited it by mistake before the podcast interview, and it was subsequently sent back to the NRA before Knight’s appearance on the podcast. The exact date is unknown, but it predated the interview with The Signal, he said Tuesday.
“The decision to refund the money had been made long before,” Rexroad said. “I didn’t connect with the treasurer after we talked. The date that the treasurer sent it back, I wouldn’t know. All I can say is our decision was made before that.”
Knight’s largest donors were political action committees, such as the Alliance Coal PAC, American Crystal Sugar PAC and Republican committees such as Protect the House.
Hill’s biggest donors were Democratic organizations such as Swing Left, Democracy Engine Inc., AmeriPac and the California Candidates Victory Fund, according to FEC documents.
“This is just showing that people are in for a change, and they’re excited for the movement we’re building,” Hill said. “We just need to finish this out strong. I feel like the debates and fundraising are looking to be in our favor, but we just won’t know the final results until Election Day.”