Capitol Alert

Katie Hill v. Steve Knight + Addressing affordability

In this August 2018 photo provided by the Katie Hill Campaign, Katie Hill, center, who is running for a seat in Congress meets with longtime supporter Harry Reed.
In this August 2018 photo provided by the Katie Hill Campaign, Katie Hill, center, who is running for a seat in Congress meets with longtime supporter Harry Reed. AP


This week in the Capitol Alert newsletter, we’re bringing you information about some the most competitive California congressional races you’ll want to keep your eyes on leading up to Election Day. On Thursday, we’ll be releasing a new episode of our “California Nation” podcast which will highlight key House contests in Southern California.

Today, let’s explore House District 25, where Democrat Katie Hill is challenging Steve Knight, the Republican incumbent.

Hill has her work cut out for her. The Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys have been reliably Republican, but Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016. Knight is seeking a third consecutive term.

This race has also proven to be one of the costliest congressional fights in the country. As of Oct. 17, Hill raised $6.1 million in individual contributions, compared to just $837,000 for Knight.

Hill has refused to accept money from political action committees, but outside groups are strengthening their efforts this month to get her elected. Through his Independence USA super PAC, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $4.5 million on ads supporting Hill’s campaign.

In a phone interview on Friday, Hill said outside groups from both political parties are seeking to influence the outcome of the election. She said her goal is to center her campaign around local issues, with health care costs and housing affordability at the top of her priority list. Still, the race could have larger implications.

“At the end of the day, we recognize that this race is of national importance,” Hill said. “It’s something that will in large part determine who controls the future of the House.”

While messaging to independent voters and moderate Republicans will be important for Hill, she said “the more important side is to get out the vote among people who don’t normally vote in a midterm.”

Though she considers herself a progressive, Hill has adopted more moderate positions. She believes:

  • Talk of impeaching President Donald Trump is a waste of time until Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is completed.
  • Free tuition at public colleges and universities is a worthy goal, but allowing graduates to eliminate student loan debt with public service would be a more realistic start to addressing the problem.
  • In a public option for people to buy into Medicare if they want.
  • In raising the federal minimum wage, but fears a $15 hourly rate could put California in a less competitive situation because of high living costs.

District Lines: Part of Ventura County and part of northern Los Angeles County

Bottom Line: Despite the historic Republican advantage, credible public opinion polling from UC Berkeley and Siena College/New York Times largely shows the race as a statistical tie. Experts, including the Cook Political Report, classify consider the seat to be a toss-up.

Fun Fact: Hill said her dad is a lifelong Republican who never voted for a Democrat until he supported her earlier this year in the June primary.

Knight’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.


California’s Strategic Growth Council today is expected to approve guidelines for communities wishing to receive millions to make housing more affordable. The Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities Program, which launched after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2014 budget, has awarded nearly $700 million in grant funds for projects throughout California. In the upcoming cycle, about $400 million in funding will be available, according to a staff report.


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“His greatest success has been on climate change. With the legislation he signed and triumphed and in using his bully pulpit, he has made California a world leader in reducing carbon emissions. His greatest failure would be presiding over a state that now has the highest poverty rate in the nation. The divide between rich and poor and the insane cost of housing has made California a tarnished dream for too many.”

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