Republican state Sen. Steve Knight of Palmdale said Tuesday that he too will be a candidate for the congressional seat held by Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon -- if the Santa Clarita Republican decides not to seek re-election next year.
Knight’s announcement comes a day after it was revealed that another Republican, former state Sen. Tony Strickland, switched from a neighboring, Ventura County-based race to McKeon’s district.
Like Knight, Strickland said he would run if McKeon doesn’t. McKeon, 75, has not said whether he plans to seek re-election, but speculation has been building for months about his possible retirement.
McKeon’s retirement would set up a GOP battle royale in the Republican district.
Strickland, a prodigious fundraiser, recently dropped plans for a rematch with freshman Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) in a Ventura County-based swing district and backed Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) for that seat.
Knight, whose father, William “Pete” Knight, also represented the Palmdale area in the Legislature, is well known in the Antelope Valley part of McKeon’s 25th Congressional District. He said he already has endorsements from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, Board of Equalization member George Runner and his wife, former state Sen. Sharon Runner. Knight said Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) and former Assemblyman Cameron Smyth also have endorsed him for the congressional seat.
Born at Edwards Air Force Base, Knight grew up in Palmdale, where he served on the City Council before his 2008 election to the state Assembly. He was an 18-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department before going to the Legislature.
“My commitment to this community has been for a lifetime,” Knight said in a statement announcing his interest in the congressional seat. “Serving as a member of Congress representing my childhood friends, law enforcement colleagues and neighbors would be an honor.”