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Ratings Change: Democrats Eye Seat After Being Shut Out in 2014

Knight could face a solid re-election challenge from a Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP didn’t have any trouble last year holding Buck McKeon’s open seat in Southern California after two Republicans finished in the top two in the primary and moved on to the general election. Steve Knight won the seat, 53 percent to 47 percent, over Tony Strickland, a two-time congressional candidate.  

This cycle, the race will likely be competitive for Democrats. Although Mitt Romney won the district narrowly, 50 percent to 48 percent, in 2012, Obama carried it, 51 percent to 47 percent, in 2008. Knight kicked off his freshman term by raising just $29,000 in the first three months of the year and had $30,000 in the bank on March 31. That won't do much to ward off formidable challengers.  

On the Democratic side, Santa Clarita Water Board Member Maria Gutzeit is running, and Agua Dulce Town Councilman Lou Vince is considering a bid as well.  

Based on the fundamentals of the district and the likelihood that Democrats get a candidate into the general election, we’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating from Safe Republican to Leans Republican.  

Related: Knight Lashes Out at Conservative Activists Challenger to Knight Emerges Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.