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Sen. Steve Knight announces 2014 congressional bid

Posted: December 3, 2013 9:29 a.m.
Updated: December 3, 2013 9:29 a.m.
Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale
Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale

Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, elected to represent portions of the Santa Clarita Valley in the state Senate in 2012, told The Signal this week he plans to launch a congressional campaign and seek the seat of Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, if the congressman retires.

“I talked to my family and friends and people in the community in the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley, and they’re all very supportive,” Knight said of his candidacy for the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

When asked why he thinks he would be an effective congressman, Knight pointed to his experience living, growing up and working locally.

“I’ve been here and I know the people, I know the issues,” he said.

Former state Sen. Tony Strickland has filed paperwork to also run in the 25th Congressional District, potentially pitting two experienced Republican legislators against veteran Congressman McKeon. However, Knight has said he will not challenge McKeon.

The move has fueled rumors that McKeon will retire in 2014. A McKeon spokeswoman said Monday that no decision about a 2014 run has yet been made.

The move by Strickland, who had previously announced he would run for a different congressional district, was a factor in his decision to declare his candidacy, Knight said.

In citing his qualifications, the former state Assemblyman also cited his experience in matters of national defense.

“I have a very good taste of what the country needs as far as safety and making sure we have a strong force out in the international eye,” he said.

Knight is the son of William J. “Pete” Knight, a former state legislator and test pilot who was immensely popular among conservatives.

Steve Knight is in the middle of his first term representing the 21st state Senate District, which he won comfortably in 2012.

That seat includes central and eastern portions of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Prior to that, Knight was elected to the California Assembly and served on the Palmdale City Council.

Before his political life, Knight was a sworn officer in the Los Angeles Police Department and also served in the U.S. Army.

Knight lives in the Antelope Valley with his wife, Lily, and their two sons Christopher and Michael.

The state senator said he will run if McKeon, who has represented the Santa Clarita Valley in Congress for two decades, decides to retire and not seek another term in 2014.

Knight’s announcement comes with what he calls a “pretty doggone good list” of endorsements, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, Board of Equalization member George Runner, former Republican state Sen. Sharon Runner, former Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth and Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

“I’ve known Steve for well over a decade,” Smyth told The Signal Monday. “I worked for his father, and I think Steve’s background in law enforcement, as well as his time in the Legislature, have made him qualified for Congress.

“He knows the district and I think that’s important,” Smyth continued.

Smyth, who had his name bandied about as a potential candidate for Congress in 2014, said he ultimately decided not to seek elected office so he can spend more time with his family.

“I’m not ruling anything out in the future, but I decided now wasn’t the right time for me or my family,” Smyth said.

The race to represent the Santa Clarita Valley in Congress also includes three other candidates — 2012 Democratic nominee Lee Rogers, Llano resident Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr. and Lancaster resident and Air Force veteran Evan Thomas.

The race for Knight's Senate seat has also started to heat up somewhat in recent weeks.

Maggie Campbell, who most recently ran unsuccessfully for the mayor’s seat in Palmdale, has told The Signal she is fundraising to run for that seat.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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