Republican will run again after former advisers spread revenge porn of woman who beat him

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Former Rep. Steve Knight is launching a bid for Rep. Katie Hill's district following her resignation.

Voters rejected Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) in November 2018, but he announced on Saturday that he will run for his old seat after Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigned following leaked intimate photos of her being published on conservative websites.

"I am proud to announce my run to return to Congress," Knight said in a statement. "I am proud to return to public service and deliver the type of representation our district deserves."

After being first elected in 2014, Knight lost to Hill in 2018 by 9 points in a district held by Republicans since 1992.

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"There's no one more adept at losing decisively in a formerly Republican district than Steve Knight," a longtime Democratic political operative from California said in a phone call. "I look forward to Knight bringing his anemic fundraising and out-of-touch ideas to a district that already rejected him," the operative, who did not disclose their identity due to the nature of their work, added.

A special election for the district is expected in early 2020 following Hill's resignation in October, after far-right websites published nude photos of her. Hill blamed the leaks on her husband, whom she is divorcing.

"I'm leaving because I didn't want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I've ever seen," Hill said in her final speech from the House floor.

The L.A. Times revealed that the articles containing the photos of Hill were authored by former political advisers from Knight's failed 2018 campaign.

During his last two years in Congress, Knight voted with Donald Trump 99% of the time despite representing a district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Knight voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with a Republican alternative which would have removed protections for people with preexisting conditions. Knight also voted for the GOP tax bill which raised taxes on homeowners in his district. Most of the benefits of the Republican tax law go to the wealthiest families in America.

"Apparently rejected Congressman Steve Knight didn't get the message in 2018 that his time serving Washington Republicans' reckless agenda is over," Andy Orellana, spokesperson for the DCCC, said in a statement, predicting voters in the district "will again reject the morally bankrupt Trump-Knight agenda in 2020."

Knight will be competing with a crowded Republican primary field that includes formerly imprisoned Trump aide George Papadopoulos.

Shortly after Hill's resignation announcement, Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith announced she would be officially launching a bid for the seat.

The Cook Political Report gives Democrats a slight edge in retaining the seat after the special election, rating it as "Leans Democrat."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.