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Rep. Mike Honda unveils 2014 campaign team

Rep. Mike Honda on Friday continued his mega-early campaign publicity blitz – clearly aimed at convincing an ambitious fellow Democrat from challenging him next year – by announcing his campaign staff.

Honda, D-San Jose, in recent weeks has rolled out endorsements from President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and many others in order to scare off, or at least undercut, a potential challenge from former Obama administration official Ro Khanna of Fremont. Honda issued a release Friday announcing his top-shelf campaign team.

honda.jpg“The people of the 17th District get my absolute best 24/7. Our community also deserves a campaign team that reflects my commitment to the families of Silicon Valley,” he said. “Together, we will listen and engage this community to create good jobs, improve our schools and grow Silicon Valley’s influence around the world.”

Honda has hired San Francisco-based Terris, Barnes and Walters for campaign management and media consulting. The firm in 2012 ran Rep. Mike Thompson’s re-election campaign, as well as state Sen. Jim Beall’s campaign in the South Bay and state Sen. Bill Monning’s campaign for his Central Coast seat. Honda team will be led by partner Barry Barnes.

For polling, Honda picked Washington, D.C.-based Lake Research Partners, which has run numbers for all four of Rep. Jerry McNerney’s campaigns as well as for Rep. Raul Ruiz’s victory over Mary Bono Mack last year. The firm also advises Pelosi; Honda’s team will be led by Berkeley-based partner David Mermin.

Oakland-based Full Court Press Communications will handle the Honda campaign’s communications and social media. The firm recently managed communications for Proposition 35, and designed social media campaigns for five local races around the state. The team will be led by founder Dan Cohen and Sarah Hersh, a former McNerney spokeswoman.

And former Davis City Councilman Lamar Heystek will serve as Honda’s field director, as he did last year.

Khanna, who served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Commerce Department from 2009 through 2011, sat out last year’s election after raising a record-breaking $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011 but choosing not to challenge veteran-but-vulnerable Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont. Democrat Eric Swalwell took down Stark in November, and now there’s talk that Khanna might see Honda as a similar target in 2014.

Khanna’s campaign papers never specified the district or year in which he would run, and he has said he’s still mulling where and when to make his bid. “My decision on whether to run will not be based on Washington politics, it will be based on conversations in the local community,” he said early this month. “I want to determine where I can best help in aiding the community and improving our economy.”

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.