MEMO: The Case Against Steve Knight
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Barb Solish, DCCC West Press Secretary
DATE: June 7, 2016
Tonight’s California Primary results mark the beginning of the general election race for California’s 25th Congressional District, where Bryan Caforio will face vulnerable Congressman Steve “I’ll drop your ass” Knight.
In this diverse district, Knight’s reelection campaign will be defined by Donald Trump, which is a damaging reality for Knight, who continues to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge his way out of commenting on the presidential race. But the fact that he’s running on the same ticket as Donald Trump means he owns the divisive priorities and offensive policies that Trump promotes between now and Election Day.
THE TRUMP KNIGHTMARE: THEY’RE MORE ALIKE THAN KNIGHT CARES TO ADMIT
Trump now defines everything for House Republicans like Knight, particularly thanks to Speaker Paul Ryan’s recent Trump endorsement. Given Donald Trump’s propensity to be provocative and offensive on a daily basis, Knight must now run with a Republican presidential nominee and party brand that is toxic to voters in this increasingly diverse district.
For Steve Knight, that reality is going to hit closer to home than he would like to admit. Before Donald Trump developed a tendency to encourage violence at his campaign rallies, Knight was ahead of the curve when he threatened a protestor at his district office, telling him, “I’ll drop your ass.”
Knight also exhibited Trump-like qualities in callous response to the 2008 foreclosure crisis – which hit California harder than most states – saying, “I don’t support bailing out people who made a bad decision.” He was clearly meant to run with Trump, who ruthlessly cheered on the housing market collapse for his own personal profit.
Lastly, while Donald Trump can’t help but insult Latinos, Steve Knight has an anti-immigrant record too long to detail here (don’t worry, there’s a time), a fact that will hurt Knight in a district that is 37% Latino.
STEVE KNIGHT: OUT OF TOUCH AND UNETHICAL
Voters will also see how wildly out of touch Knight is on a host of issues, starting with his belief that Social Security was “a bad idea,” which he proclaimed at a debate last month. We know Knight is serious about taking away seniors’ hard earned benefits because this wasn’t the first time he took an extreme position on the program – last December he said, “I’m not a big fan of Social Security.”
Voters will also hold Knight accountable for his failed response to the Porter Ranch leak. Bryan Caforio has been holding Knight accountable for this failure from the start, and don’t expect him to let up any time soon.
Lastly, voters are going to be reminded about Knight’s ethical lapses. First, he got caught trying to bilk taxpayers by charging them more than $1,000 for hotels and taxis in DC, which is expressly forbidden under House rules. Then we learned Knight had miserably failed to file the basic financial disclosure forms required from every candidate and Member of Congress. What will voters learn next?
In 2016, vulnerable Steve Knight faces an uphill battle running for reelection with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, a more Democratic and diverse electorate, and a pattern of unethical and out-of-touch behavior. This fall, the choice will be clear between Steve “I’ll drop your ass” Knight and Trump’s Republican Party, and Bryan Caforio’s commonsense approach to the issues that matter to Southern California families.