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Democrat candidates line up to face Knight for Palmdale seat


The filing period has began for the June 5 primary election, with Rep. Steve Knight and state Sen. Tony Mendoza expected to be the Los Angeles County elected officials facing the toughest re-election challenges.

Seven Democrats have expressed interest in running against Knight (CA-25), including attorney Bryan Caforio, who lost to Knight, 53.1 percent-46.9 percent in the 2016 general election.

Caforio announced his candidacy in May for the district that includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, saying he was running “to give the people in this district a voice, to harness the unprecedented level of energy we have been witnessing, and to move this community in a direction that aligns with our values — not Donald Trump’s values.”

Knight’s campaign consultant Matt Rexroad told City News Service “the Knight campaign would be happy to see Mr. Caforio on the ballot again in 2018,”

“Congressman Knight has a lifetime commitment to this community that no amount of money from (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi and special interests can buy,” Rexroad said. “Congressman Knight will continue to work for the people of this community each and every day.”

Two other Democrats announced their candidacies earlier, Katie Hill, the executive director and deputy CEO of the homeless services nonprofit organization PATH, and Jess Phoenix, a geologist.

Other Democrats seeking the seat include Dr. Michael Masterman-Smith,

a cancer biologist and pharmacologist, and immigration attorney Scott McVarish,

who has said, “A vote for Scott McVarish for Congress is a vote to impeach


Mendoza, D-Artesia, is on a leave of absence in response to sexual misconduct allegations. Rio Hondo Community College District Board of Trustees Vice President Vicky Santana, a fellow Democrat, said she will run against Mendoza in the 32nd Senate District, which includes Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Hacienda Heights, Hawaiian Gardens, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs,

Whittier and portions of Lakewood and Buena Park.

On the county level, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Assessor Jeffrey Prang and Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis are not expected to face tough opposition as they seek second terms.

The June 5 ballot will include primaries for governor, seven other statewide offices, four seats on the Board of Equalization, all of California’s 53 congressional seats, 20 of the 40 state Senate seats and all 80 seats in the Assembly.

The filing period will close March 9, but will be extended to March 14 for offices where no incumbent files, except for those where the incumbent cannot seek re-election because of term limits.