Katie Hill is running for office for the first time. The 30-year-old quit her job managing an organization that advocates for the homeless in Los Angeles, to try to ride the blue wave that's supposedly going to shift Congress toward the Democrats in November.
California’s 25th district is the last one that includes L.A. County that is currently represented by a Republican. But the guy who represents it, Congressman Steve Knight, isn’t Katie’s problem just yet.
To get to the general election, Hill has to figure out how to pull votes away from two other Democrats who are campaigning for that seat. (One other Democrat in the race is a non-factor at this point.)
Pulling voters in her direction requires money. Lots of it. In California, money takes on added importance because of the high cost of ads in the state. Any campaign, including Hill’s, has to devote an extraordinary amount of phone time to begging for money. And Hill's gotten pretty good at it, raising more than Bryan Caforio, a competitor who has higher name recognition because he’s run for office before.
But that push and pull between raising money and actually meeting voters is a hard one to navigate. “No one is saying I should focus on anything in the community,” Hill told VICE News earlier this year. That has to change now that Hill is in the last month of the primary election.
So she needs to keep up with the fundraising while also doing more events, knocking on more doors and generally getting herself in people’s faces. And to do that properly means her whole life has become about winning. Hill said she’s surprised how often she feels “like an asshole” because she's spending so much time campaigning. “You're not there for people that you care about anymore. That's that's the hardest part,” she continued.
Until primary day on June 5, Hill will probably continue to feel like an asshole. It’s the only way to win.
This segment originally aired May 8, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.