Rep. Mike Honda’s replacement as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee this week was “all amicable,” a DNC spokesman told me today, hinting the South Bay Congressman can expect support even as a well-funded Democratic challenger might be emerging.
“His service to the president and the party won’t go unrecognized in the future,” DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said.
I’d written an item Tuesday about the DNC’s officer elections, linked to an article about contention over who would serve as secretary. DNC sources had told me that day that Honda, D-San Jose, had hoped to continue on as one of the party’s vice chairs, but that he withdrew from contention when he saw the writing on the wall; freshman Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii – whom Honda was helping raise campaign funds just months ago – now holds the post instead.
But Woodhouse said today that whether or not Honda initially had hoped to stay on, “by everything I’ve been told and everything I’ve observed … he was amenable, he was supportive” of the change.
“He was so terrific in this role, he was so terrific as a vice chair and representing the AAPI (Asian American/Pacific Islander) community,” Woodhouse said. “That’s going to be recognized. … He’s a key ally of the party and of the president.”
Such recognition and support could become crucial if Honda seeks another term. As I’d reported Monday, rumors abound that Ro Khanna – the former Obama Administration Commerce Department official who raised an eye-popping $1.2 million in the last quarter of 2011, but chose not to challenge Rep. Pete Stark in 2012 – may choose to run against Honda in the 17th District in 2014.
Khanna wouldn’t confirm this Monday, saying he’s still considering all his options, but the allure of running in the continental United States’ first majority AAPI district – from which Khanna derived much of his campaign war chest – must be significant. Khanna’s donor list also included some notable national Democratic donors, a sign of the strong network he has built over the past several years, but given Woodhouse’s words today it’ll be interesting to see how and whether the DNC brings pressure to bear should he challenge Honda.