House Dems target controversial California Republican
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House Democrats are formally designating freshman Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) as one of their top targets for the 2016 election cycle.

Knight garnered national headlines last week for angrily telling an immigration protester, "If you touch me again, I'll drop your ass."

The protester had accused Knight of voting to provide "amnesty" for illegal immigrants before patting the lawmaker's shoulder and turning to walk away.

Within a week after the episode, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is adding Knight to its list of vulnerable freshmen deemed "One Term Wonders."

The district has long been in Republican hands. But DCCC officials cited Knight's underwhelming first quarter fundraising and the growth of Democratic voter registration in the district, which surpassed Republicans last year, as factors in their favor this time around.

"We will work tirelessly to highlight how out-of-step 'One-Term Wonders' like Knight are with their constituents, and we’re confident that they’ll return the favor and 'drop' him next fall," DCCC spokesman Matt Thornton said.

Knight raised just $28,000 in the first quarter of 2015 with outstanding campaign debts of more than $52,000. Even he acknowledged his tepid fundraising in the expensive Los Angeles media market.

"Our first-quarter fundraising was really bad," Knight admitted to a local newspaper.  

Knight won election with 53 percent of the vote last November. The district was previously represented by former House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) from 1993 until this year. The swing district went narrowly for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 but was won by President Obama in 2008. 

Other vulnerable House Republican freshmen designated as the DCCC's "One Term Wonders" include Reps. Martha McSally (Ariz.), David Jolly (Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Rod Blum (Iowa), David Young (Iowa), Bob Dold (Ill.), Mike Bost (Ill.), Bruce Poliquin (Maine), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Cresent Hardy (Nev.), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.), Ryan Costello (Pa.), Will Hurd (Texas), Barbara Comstock (Va.) and Tom MacArthur (N.J.).

Knight, an Army veteran, previously worked as a Los Angeles police officer for 18 years. He also served in the California state legislature from 2008 to 2014.