VICE News Tonight spent the last four months behind the scenes with 30-year-old Katie Hill as she faced her first time running for any political office. And the first hurdle: a primary bid for the U.S. Congressional seat in California’s 25th District.
Things turned negative in the last two months of the campaign. Mailers, paid for by her primary Democratic opponent Bryan Caforio's campaign, started arriving in the mailboxes of district voters saying "Katie Hill = Steve Knight" (the district's current Republican Congressman). Team Hill reacted to the news gleefully, because it presented an opportunity to distinguish her from Caforio.
Even though her finance director Graham Kelly wanted to know whether they were “free to like light [Caforio's] ass up," Hill didn't want to go completely negative on her opponent, even though her opponent had ostensibly violated a negative campaigning pledge signed by all of the democratic candidates in the race. Even though Caforio's campaign stood by the mailers and repeatedly said they were quoting Hill directly.
And so Katie was forced to confront another kind of intraparty negativity.
“We as women say that we support other women, but when it comes down to it, what is making that dynamic different. Why aren’t we actually supporting other women?” Hill said on a call to a local newspaper reporter.
In the end, it came down to a late-night election party, and an agonizing changing lead before the Hill campaign ended the night with a primary win.
This segment originally aired June 7, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.