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Nancy Pelosi endorses Mike Honda for 2014

OK, OK, we get it already: The Democratic Party’s top leaders do NOT want former Obama Administration official Ro Khanna to challenge fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in 2014.

Just days after President Obama’s outlandishly early endorsement of Honda, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Honda today as well.

Pelosi and Honda“Congressman Mike Honda’s life has been a tribute to the quintessential American ideals of equality and opportunity for all,” Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said in a news release from Honda’s campaign. “From a childhood spent in an internment camp, Mike has risen to the heights of American leadership – as one of the top Democrats on the powerful Appropriations Committee and a critical voice for fairness, the rights of LGBT couples and all families.

“Mike is a bold and effective leader who understands the needs of Silicon Valley and the 17th District, ensuring American competitiveness and fighting for American manufacturing, comprehensive immigration reform, STEM education, and technological innovation,” Pelosi continued. “We need his continued leadership for our nation in the House of Representatives, and I am proud to endorse him.”

Honda, 71, said he’s honored by Pelosi’s endorsement.

“Since my first campaign for Congress in 2000, Leader Pelosi’s guidance, support, and leadership have been imperative. She is the beacon of our Democratic Party here in the Bay Area and throughout the nation, and I am thankful for her endorsement,” he said. “I am proud to represent one of the nation’s most diverse districts, here in Silicon Valley – our nation’s hub of technology and innovation – and I look forward to continue working with Leader Pelosi on an agenda that keeps our Valley and our nation moving forward.”

Obama’s and Pelosi’s endorsements clearly are meant as howitzers trained squarely at any trial balloon that Khanna, 36, may care to float; he has said only that he’s considering his options, and he had declined to comment on Obama’s endorsement.

Still, Honda wouldn’t be wasting this kind of ammo on someone unless he sees that person as a threat. Khanna is the former Commerce Department official who raised a record-breaking $1.2 million in the last quarter of 2011 but chose not to run against Pete Stark, D-Fremont. Stark subsequently was unseated by Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, and rumor has it Khanna’s focus has shifted to Honda’s 17th Congressional District, home to many of Khanna’s donors and the first majority Asian-American district in the continental United States.

Don’t forget: Obama and Pelosi had endorsed Stark, too, and the 17th District has a much higher percentage of no-party-preference voters – almost 32 percent – who won’t feel a need to vote in accordance with the party’s wishes.

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.