Does it really matter that Bryan Caforio has raised more money than Steve Knight?
Caforio, the Democratic challenger to Knight’s 25th Congressional District seat, raised $281,189.63 in the quarter running April 1 to June 30. Knight (R-Palmdale) raised $265,986 in the same time. The Caforio camp proudly trumpeted that this was the third consecutive quarter that the challenger outraised the incumbent.
However, in terms of total money, Knight has a far larger war chest. As an incumbent, Knight has access to greater sums of money. Latest fundraising figures show that Knight has raised more than $1 million and spent about $415,000, giving him almost $614,000 to play with. Caforio has raised $583,580 and spent 76 percent of it.
“Why does it matter? It’s a way to claim a victory,” said Signal reporter Matt Thacker, who’s following the campaign. “When you raise more, you have more to spend. They’re trying to play up momentum. He’s got momentum.”
Caforio campaign manager Orrin Evans agreed. While Caforio stopped short of using the word “momentum,” he nonetheless found the positive in his fundraising methods.
“The money I’m raising is from people. I like talking to people,” he said. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
True, candidates used to have to get out and pound as much pavement, shake as many hands and kiss as many babies as possible to generate funds (and votes). Now, thanks in part to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, that’s no longer the case.
Caforio admits that Knight has more available money, which he calls “Republican dark money.”
“We can’t outspend Republican dark money. There’s too much of that,” he said. “The Koch brothers and Karl Rove can give all the money they want. … I don’t know of anyone who has outraised an incumbent three quarters in a row.”
Fundraising records do not show the Koch Industries, headed by Charles and David Koch, gave to the Knight campaign (nor has Rove). However, Knight has received funds from the National Republican Congressional Committee because it believes Knight is vulnerable. The Cook Political Report, an independent nonpartisan online newsletter, and the Los Angeles Times also put Knight’s seat in play. The reason: an increase in registered-Democrat voters. Dems outnumber registered Republicans by 3,000, according to the National Journal.
Conversely, Caforio said he has received $4,600 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Undaunted, Caforio will continue to hit the ground and meet as many people as possible.
“All we can do is put out our positive message: who I am and what I stand for,” he said. “We have the ability to communicate with the voters, and we will continue to have the ability to communicate with the voters.”