If former Commerce Department official Ro Khanna does decide to run against Rep. Mike Honda in 2014, it looks like he’ll be doing it without the support of his former boss, the President of the United States.
Honda’s staff issued a release early this morning announcing that President Obama has endorsed him for re-election in the 17th Congressional District, certainly one of the earliest endorsements of the 2014 congressional campaign cycle.
“Congressman Mike Honda is the right leader for the 17th district. Together, we’ve worked hard these last four years to bring meaningful, positive change to our nation, but there is much more to do,” Obama said. “As we continue rebuilding our economy from the middle out, we know expanding educational opportunities is critical. Congressman Honda’s lifelong commitment to education and fierce advocacy for innovation and technology is exactly what this nation needs as we continue to move America forward.
“We need Congressman Mike Honda in the United States Congress, and I urge you to vote to keep him there.”
In response, Honda said he’s honored by the president’s endorsement.
“Over the past four years, I’ve worked closely with President Obama and his administration to keep Silicon Valley equipped to lead in the areas of manufacturing, education and high-tech innovation,” Honda said. “California’s 17th is one of the most dynamic and diverse districts in America, sitting at the epicenter of ideas, innovation, and technological leadership. I look forward to continuing to work with the President and his administration, bringing my real life experience, my record of accomplishments, and vision for America’s road ahead, to the lives of my constituents.”
I’d reported a week ago today that Khanna, 36 – who had raised a record-breaking $1.2 million in the last quarter of 2011, but chose not to run against Rep. Pete Stark in 2012 – was considering taking on Honda, D-San Jose, instead of Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, who beat Stark last year. Khanna had said last Monday only that he’s still considering all his options.
Honda last Tuesday was replaced as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but while I’d heard he’d wanted to keep that job yet was ousted, a DNC spokesman went out of his way Friday to say Honda, 71, had the party’s and president’s deep gratitude for his service, which wouldn’t go unrecognized in the future.
Apparently the future is now. Honda’s speed in getting and publicizing this endorsement is testament both to his deep ties within the party and to his desire to nip Khanna’s nascent challenge in the bud as soon as possible. Nobody wants a challenger with almost $1.3 million in the bank AND momentum.
UPDATE @ 1:19 P.M.: Khanna declined to comment.