Valencia Democrat to run in 25th Congressional District

A Santa Clarita Valley Democrat announced plans Thursday to run against first-term Republican Congressman Steve Knight to represent the Santa Clarita Valley on Capitol Hill.

Bryan Caforio, a lawyer who lives in Valencia, said he’s running to “give a voice to the people in the community who right now are being ignored.”

“I’m running for Congress because it’s time to build an economy that works for everyone, and not just the wealthy few,” he said Thursday. “It’s time to provide a first-class education to our children, create strong middle-class jobs, and strengthen and secure Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”

Caforio, 32, said he has not run for political office before, but that he believes he can “represent the issues and concerns that matter most in the community.”

“I look forward to standing up for the people in this community against the dysfunctional career politicians like Steve Knight,” he said.

He joins a 2016 congressional field that also includes Democrats Maria Gutzeit and Lou Vince.

All three are seeking to unseat Knight, R-Palmdale, who the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, is targeting as a vulnerable incumbent.

The 25th Congressional District covers the Santa Clarita Valley and portions of the Antelope and Simi valleys and has traditionally been a Republican stronghold.

However, the most recent voter registration statistics from the California Secretary of State’s office show the district actually has a handful more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Caforio’s candidacy drew the attention of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which characterized him as a carpetbagger in a statement Thursday.

Caforio said he moved to Valencia last month. But his wife’s family has longtime ties to the district, especially in the Antelope Valley, he said.

He declined to tell The Signal where he moved from but said it was closer to where he and his wife work.

The graduate of UCLA and Yale Law School is an associate with Susman Godfrey in Los Angeles. His wife, Lisa, is a deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.

Hopeful of knocking Knight out of the 25th District seat in 2016, national Democrats have taken him to task repeatedly over the past year, including for a well-publicized incident when he told a protester at a Simi Valley event: “If you touch me again, I’ll drop your ass.”

Knight later said he lost his cool and regretted responding the way he did.

The DCCC has also blasted Knight’s fundraising numbers, which have come in below levels expected from an incumbent congressman, especially one in the expensive Los Angeles-area media market.

Caforio noted this in a press release announcing his candidacy, saying that he has already raised $50,000 in his first week of fundraising, while Knight reported about $77,000 in net contributions from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Though he acknowledges his at-times-lackluster fundraising, Knight has pointed out in previous interviews that he’s already raised more for his re-election effort than he did during his successful run in 2014.

Origionally published in the Santa Clara Valley Signal.

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