Katie Hill vanquished her four Democratic opponents, but had to spend most of her money to do so. Steve Knight, meanwhile, was the sole Republican running, so he has much of his cash stockpiled for the Nov. 6 general election.
With Knight holding about a $1 million advantage, there’s one major thing for Hill to do now.
“We’re going to have to raise $3 million,” she said. “Three times as much in one third of the time. No small task.”
If this candidate wants to unseat the incumbent – one who received more than 50 percent of the primary vote – she can’t just limit herself to small donations from individuals.
Hill knows this, so her plan is “getting ready to run one of the largest congressional campaigns in the country.”
That means accepting money from just about everywhere: individuals who donated to her campaign, individuals who supported Jess Phoenix, Bryan Caforio or Mary Pallant; the Democratic Party (“If they’re going to throw money at me, I’m not going to say no,” she said); corporations, organizations and companies that already endorsed her, and Democrats running for re-election in safe districts who can afford to donate some money her way.
She will attend the 25 United for Progress Unity Barbecue on June 30 at Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park in Stevenson Ranch.
Hill said Knight has accepted money from Republicans running in safe districts, claiming he has about $200,000 from those sources. She also alleged that Vice President Mike Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) have been making pleas for donations on behalf of Knight (the next reporting period ends June 30).
“We have an uphill battle. We’re sitting in a ditch. We’ve got ground to make up. He’s starting with a cash advantage,” Hill said.
Of course, there’s more to a campaign than just money. Money is just a means to the end, and the end means votes. Hill and campaign manager Zack Czajkowski said they must reach out to Phoenix and Caforio supporters, continue to mobilize a vast army of volunteers and take as many one-on-one meetings as possible.
Debates also aren’t out of the question, although none have been set.
“We’ll do what the congressman wants,” Hill said, “but honestly, how many can you have?”
Caforio, who didn’t return calls for comment, put out a statement the day after the primary asking his followers to support Hill, something Czajkowski said he appreciated.
“That was all class on his part,” he said. “Huge respect for the statement he made.”
Czajkowski also said he has heard from some Caforio supporters who are willing to support Hill.
“Some folks said, ‘I supported Bryan, but Katie has a lot to offer, and we can beat Steve Knight, so let’s do it,’” he said.