Ro Khanna helping to raise funds for Pete Stark

Ro Khanna – the former Obama Administration official who raised an eye-popping $1.2 million in 2011’s final quarter but vowed not to run against Rep. Pete Stark – is co-hosting a big fundraiser next week for Stark.

Khanna, of Fremont, along with Hayward Mayor Mike Sweeney and the International Association of Firefighters’ FirePAC, are holding the event next Monday evening, April 30, in the Hayward Firefighters Hall. Tickets range from $100 to $2,500.

The list of co-hosts indicates Khanna is leveraging his deep connections in the Indo-American community on Stark’s behalf, though some of these names have been avowed Stark supporters for some time: Rahul Roy, Dr. Romesh Japra, Yogi Chugh, Mike Nevens, Mahesh Pakala, Anil Yadav, Joe Johal, Dr. Raj Salwan, Inder Dosanjh, and Sunny Ghai.

Khanna has held to his contention that he wants Stark’s 15th Congressional District seat, but only when Stark, D-Fremont, chooses to retire from it. Of course, that plan requires Stark to hold on to that seat this year against two challengers who aren’t willing to wait for him to give it up.

Stark already has the clear money edge, though his numbers for the first three months of 2012 were a bit lackluster. He raised $60,255 and spent $90,299 in the first quarter, but had $551,341.79 cash on hand with no outstanding debts as of March 31.

Dublin City Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell, also a Democrat, raised $100,930.24 and spent $96,592.16 in the first quarter, and had $93,311.05 cash on hand with $8,572.50 in outstanding debts as of March 31. Hayward businessman Chris Pareja, a Tea Party conservative independent candidate, raised $12,572 and spent $12,680.79 in the first quarter, and had $64.81 cash on hand with no outstanding debts as of March 31.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Cindy Corrello Hilke

    This just goes to show the depth of friendship and respect between Pete and Ro as well as the content of their character. When Pete and Ro were in DC together they formed an extraordinary relationship built on mutual interest and their belief in service. I am so proud to have them both as my friends – yup, so proud I could bust!!!

  • JohnW

    What happened to Eric Swalwell’s threat to sue Pete Stark over the “bribery” accusation?

  • Josh Richman

    Re#2 — I think that went away when Stark “apologized,” saying he “misspoke.”

  • Elwood

    @ Cindy #1

    “so proud I could bust!!!”

    I’m so proud I could puke!!!

    Go Eric Swalwell! Let’s send Stark to a home and let Khanna look for something else to do with his friends’ money.

  • JohnW

    Re: #3

    Oops! I totally missed the “apology” story.

  • RR senile columnist

    Ro is a smart guy. He knows if he runs against Starkers he will forfeit the die-hard vote. He may also want a mention in Pete’s will.

  • JohnW

    Ro seems to be lining things up the way you would expect more from somebody running for the Senate than for the House. Eye on DiFi’s seat in 2018?

  • moderate voter

    If I got invited to one of these fancy fundraisers Rho Khanna is throwing for Pete Stark the first thing I’d ask is, “Dudes, what happened to our middle class? Where are the middle class jobs?”. Another thing I’d ask is this. “Aren’t these Silicon Valley CEO’s Khanna has gotten all this money from for a 2014 run for Congress – 1.4 million – the same guys who are moving all these US jobs overseas? “. The final thing I’d ask is, ” Hey Pete! Aren’t you a fiery leftist- liberal? What are you doing hanging out with all these CEO pals of Rho Khanna? “.
    Clearly Pete Stark is desperate, so desperate he’s now courting Silicon Valley CEO’s, anything to stay in Congress. 38 years in Congress isn’t enough for 81 year old Pete Stark, he wants to break Strom Thurmonds record for longevity in Congress.
    The best candidate for the 15th district is this Dublin City Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell. He will fight for middle class jobs, and he’s not afraid to take on Wall Street either. To me Swalwell represents change, with Stark or Khanna you get more of the same. Go Eric!

  • Cindy Corrello Hilke

    Nope, absolutely no talk of Senate – he will not consider it. Ro is a guy of his word!

  • When politicians and firefighters work together, I buy a huge container of lube, grab my ankles, and grit my teeth.

  • JohnW

    Re #9

    Baloney! Boxer will be 76 when her current term ends in 2016. Feinstein will be 85 in 2018. Brown will be 76 when his current term ends in 2014. Kamala Harris has her eyes on all of this. Ro Khanna and his supporters would be crazy not to do the same.

  • JohnW

    Re: #8

    “Aren’t these Silicon Valley CEO’s…the same guys who are moving all these US jobs overseas?” No. They are responsible for most of the real economic growth we’ve had in the U.S. since 1980. They are the ones begging the government to ease up on high tech work visas, so that we don’t train engineers and scientists here and then send them back to China and India.

    When a guy running for Congress mentions in his official bio that one of his accomplishments is establishing his Dublin high school alumni club, you just know this is somebody who will shake things up in D.C.

    Swalwell doesn’t offer any specific ideas or solutions on his website, but he does identify the need to protect intellectual property as an important factor for our economy. I’m sure Ro Khanna would agree with him, since he makes his living as an intellectual property attorney. I wonder which person, Eric the alumni club president, or Ro the intellectual property attorney is best equipped to address that issue.

  • moderate voter

    #12 John, Pete Stark is one of the least productive Congressman in Washington DC. He has a reputation for being lazy. Every once in awhile he will introuduce some colorful wacky bill that will get him some press coverage for a day or two, then the bill will die later in commitee. Stark just isn’t taken serious anymore, not by anybody, at least not in DC.
    He’s also not being taken too seriously locally either judging by recent editorials I’ve read in local papers. Recently in a debate he made a completely false charge of malfeasance agaisn’t Eric Swalwell, a squeaky clean Alameda County prosecutor. This charge was so ridiculous – not a scintilla of evidence of any inproper behavior, nothing – local papers all editorlized agaisnt Stark. In fact this was just the wacky Stark in action, he has a rep for being a big gasbag- blowhard in Washington, you can’t believe much of anything he says. His credibility is so low he has become the butt of jokes.
    This Dublin City Councilman and Prosecutor Eric Swallwell has got Stark on the ropes, major magazines like Politico and Target are now saying Swalwell now has solid shot to take Stark out. Stark is 81, the district is far more conservative than the districts he’s represented in the past, he is a poor fit ideologically. But also Stark’s flamboyant – some would say obnoxious – style is grating on many voters -many voters – such as myself – are saying, “Do we want a cartoon figure as our local Congressman?”.
    Look, if a Congressman is doing a good job – like George Miller one district over, I am first to give credit. Miller recently got some big federal crime lab to come to Richmond – 300 new jobs or something, high paying jobs. As powerful Chairment of the Ed and Labor Committee George Miller got student loan interest rates cut in half for all college students in US, Miller has done a lot of good things, he is very productive. He’s been Chairman of the House Interior Committee AND Chairmen of Ed and Labor, his legisaltive achievments are a mile long.
    Pete Stark, in contrast is a lazy prima donna who works two hour days, he has no major legisaltive achievments he can tout, he doesn’t even show up and vote a lot of the time, according to some other blogger he missed 33% of votes in last session. In fact, Stark is regularly voted one of DC’s worst Congressman, most recently by Esquire magazine. On top of that he’s been in office 38 years or something.
    Amazingly, he has even announced this will likely be his final term. For him to do this – of course – is just ridiculous, he will no longer even get his telephone calls answered in Washington. Once you say you are going to retire you become dead in DC – you are non-entity, whatever power you have virtually disappears when you become a lame duck. DC is a tough town, careers are on the rise, and others are on the downslide. Pete Starks’ career has been on downslide for some time, which is why I see him being defeated in his effort to get elected to the 15th.
    If you look closely at Eric Swallwel’s resume you can see this guy is a work horse, he has a tough, draining job as a prosecutor, yet he also serves as a Dublin City Councilman, he is a 14 hour a day guy. Pete Stark, in contrast, is a two hour a day guy – three days a week. He’s what you call a show horse, a lazy slug who works as little as possible, as evidenced by the fact he is missing 1/3 or Congressional votes. I’m a blue collar guy, I like people that work hard, Swalwell is a worker which is why I am backing him in this race. He’s no cartoon figure either, this is a guy who taken seriously in DC.

  • moderate voter

    #12 John, Pete Stark has become a cartoon figure in Washington DC, he is no longer taken serious. Rho Khann, I should add, already ran for Congress in San Mateo and was crushed 86% to 12% in a Democratic primary, there is no evidence he’s electable to anything.

  • JohnW

    Re: #13 and 14


    If your guy wins, more power to him.

    None of the stuff about Stark matters to me at this point. What matters is who will represent the district going forward. In my opinion, Ro Khanna is, by a country mile, the better person for the job.

    By the way, you’ve made the comment before about Khanna’s unsuccessful 2004 run for Congress. As has been pointed out to you, he was then 27 years old and trying to unseat the highly regarded Tom Lantos. Nobody could have seriously challenged him.

  • Cindy Corrello Hilke

    If any of you want to know what Ro stands for, what he believes in, the expertise he brings to the subject then give him a call or an email (look up his Facebook page or his website) and meet with him one-on-one – he is always happy to do that. Or wait until his book comes out in late August – Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future – it is a fantastic read and is recommended by leading economists and labor leaders – that’s how you get to know Ro.