Honda has House support, Khanna plans rally

As Ro Khanna – the former Obama administration official who announced last week that he’ll challenge fellow Democrat Mike Honda in 2014 – prepares for his first public campaign event, Honda has announced he’s been endorsed by 34 other California House Democrats.

In a news release issued Thursday, Honda said he and his House endorsers “are working with President Obama to help create jobs, improve our schools, and ensure California’s continued leadership in technology and innovation. I’m eager to continue this work and grateful to have the support of my colleagues.”

It’s just the latest in a series of high-profile endorsements that Honda has rolled out in the first few months of this year, including that of President Obama.

The only Bay Area House members who aren’t on Honda’s list of endorsers are Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton.

Swalwell’s absence isn’t so surprising, given he just won his office by ignoring the party’s wishes and unseating veteran Rep. Pete Stark in 2012 much as Khanna hopes to do to Honda in 2014. In fact, Swalwell should be quite pleased that Khanna is running against Honda in the 17th Congressional District; Khanna initially had hoped to succeed Stark in the 15th Congressional District after his expected retirement in 2014, and some thought he might challenge Swalwell instead.

Eshoo’s absence from Honda’s list of endorsers seems more remarkable, given her district’s Silicon Valley similarities to Honda’s.

Khanna, meanwhile, is planning a “Rally with Ro” for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sunken Garden on DeAnza College’s campus, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino. The event “will bring together community residents and key campaign supporters to hear Ro’s forward-looking vision for the district,” his campaign says.

He’s positioning himself as a younger, more-tech savvy alternative to Honda with a better appreciation of Silicon Valley’s needs; watch for a speech that touches on tax and regulatory policies that would foster innovation and job creation, and education polices that would produce a tech-trained workforce.

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.

  • GV Haste

    Is it any wonder that most of the other Democratic incumbents are supporting a fellow incumbent.
    They hardly want this idea of challenging a incumbent to catch fire.
    The passage and early results of “top two” primaries has scared the pants off of them.

    No longer can they sit back and cruise through election after election, knowing that true democracy is dead.

    What do they want, for no one to challenge a incumbent until they become “Pete Starks” one by one?
    The same gang was supporting Stark despite his embarassing performance.

    That they support Honda is more than enough reason to look into supporting Khanna.

    Say what you want about Honda, but he certainly isn’t a vibrant leader. The entire Bay Area delegation needs new blood. They’re like some bridge team from a Senior Center.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    My sources are telling me many high tech CEO’s and venture capital people – the movers and shakers in Silicon Valley – are less than enamored with Mike Honda. They think silicon needs a shark in DC, but are complaining that they have a minnow in Mike Honda, that’s what I’m hearing.
    Honda, they say, has weak knowledge base on high tech – he doesn’t understand the industry, not really. When Honda meets with high tech leaders his aides, they say, got to say stuff like ” Intel, it’s a big chip maker, and Honda will say, ‘”Oh yes”.
    This may explain why Swalwell and Eshoo aren’t backing Honda, I don’t really know, but that’s my guess. I would think these high tech people are leaning on Eshoo and Swalwell pretty heavily to stay out of the Khanna/Honda race.
    Is It a good thing to have a Congressman representing the silicon valley who has such a weak knowledge base on the industry? I don’t think so, the Congressman from the silicon valley needs to know a lot, high tech is a complicated field – but Honda has a back round a school adminstrator, he spent his career orginizing faculty meetings and making sure lawns got cut at the schools he worked at.
    I think you can make a case Honda has always been a poor fit for this district, it’s high profile district, you have these new emerging industries, they need a champion in DC, but they have got this minnow in Mike Honda. I think you are going to see another incumbent knocked out in 2014, you can’t make a strong case to re-elect Honda.

  • I don’t know anything about Anna Eshoo, but I wonder if Honda even asked Eric Swalwell for his endorsement. Eric himself is in the midst of a re-election fight with CA Senate Majority leader Ellen Corbett, who has the support of the party establishment. It does not seem wise for Honda to get in the middle of that hornet’s nest.

  • Elwood

    @ 1 & 2

    And the attack of the shills continues.

    Can you believe this crap will continue until 11/14?

  • Josh Richman

    @4 – I’m surprised you’re not aboard the Khanna bandwagon, Elwood; I’d think that Honda personifies much of what you so often term the “dimmiecrat” ideal, and that you’d support anyone running a viable race anywhere to his right (even if only slightly so).

  • Elwood

    I think the top two primary is a wonderful thing.

    Can’t think of anything I like better than two dimmiecrats attempting to destroy each other.

    Wonder why Obama endorsed Honda? I figured Ro would be a lock for that endorsement with all the Obama supporters and former staffers he’s hired.

    Ask Meg Whitman if money can buy you office.

  • Josh Richman

    @6 – Sitting presidents very rarely support challengers to their own incumbents; it’s a messy business, and Honda stumped tirelessly for Obama last year with AAPI communities from coast to coast. As for Meg – so, so true.

  • RR senile columnist

    If the Super Techies need a “shark” to represent them in DC, why don’t they hire smarter lobbyists?