Gavin Newsom endorses Ro Khanna for Congress

After months Rep. Mike Honda rolling out high-profile endorsements, the fellow Democrat who’s challenging him announced today he has one of California’s statewide electeds in his corner: Ro Khanna has Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s support.

“I’m proud to support Ro. I know he will govern from a place of courage and authenticity,” Newsom said in a statement issued by Khanna’s campaign. “He has many innovative ideas to grow California’s economy and to apply technology to make government better for all his constituents.”

Khanna, 36, of Fremont, said he’s grateful to be endorsed by Newsom, whom he called “a public servant who represents all the best qualities of the 17th District. He is truly a pioneer in finding ways to technologically transform government to achieve a more open and efficient democracy.”

Khanna also said Newsom’s “early leadership on same-sex marriage makes him a public figure to admire and emulate.”

Making politics more tech friendly and vice versa is a key theme in Khanna’s campaign, just as it is of “Citizenville,” Newsom’s recent book on how to modernize government and increase political participation among the nation’s increasingly diverse citizenry. And both Khanna – a former Obama administration Commerce Department official – and Newsom have tried to cast themselves as younger, more dynamic alternatives to an older political dynamic.

Khanna just formally announced his candidacy a few weeks ago, but rumors have been flying for many months. Honda, D-San Jose, used that time to roll out a series of endorsements from the likes of President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, current and former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, and almost all of California’s House Democrats.

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

    Logic. Brown gets re-elected in 2014 and stays in office until the 2018 election season.
    Feinstein also stays in office until the 2018 elections.
    Boxer is in office until at least the 2016 elections and good chance 6 years after that.

    So, Gavin thinks his next bid for a post is 5 years off and by that time even if Honda wins in 2014, he’ll be out or near the end by 2018.

    Even if Boxer fails to run in 2016, Honda will be 75 by then and have no impact if he supports Gavin’s opponent.

    So nothing lost by not supporting Honda and lots to possibly gain by supporting the new, younger, Democratic future.

    Honda supporters are the old incumbent types who have no future political intentions.

    Gavin is clearly running for either governor or senator. No downside in not supporting Honda.

    On the other hand, do we really want to live in Citizenville? Sounds kind of like Stepford.

  • Elwood

    Gavin should run. And keep running until he’s far away.

    Gavin is a pimple on the butt of the body politic.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    Newsoms’ endorsement of Ro Khanna seems fitting, you can readily see this race is shaping up to be an inter-generational fight, same as the Pete Stark-Eric Swalwell race. Mike Honda represents old ideas, failed economic policies – we still have chronic unemployment in California, hovering at 10%, while Ro Khanna – a brilliant economist with all sort of news ideas on how to put people back to work, represents the future. Where are we going as a state? Where are people going to work in the future? What can government do to put people back to work? I think Mike Honda – like Pete Stark, or Lynn Woolsey or Dan Lungren – all of whom have either retired or been ousted from Congress by voters – is just clueless on how to stop the US economy from shedding jobs. Bottom line, these members – despite all this senority they had or have – are weak on job-creation front – they are or were clueless, that’s why we continue to have double digit unemployment in California. I think – like Gavin Newsom – we need to give the younger generation a chance to lead, an opportunity to solve this problem of chronic unemployment. Just look at what these young kids have done in the Silicon Valley, this younger generation can get it done. I’m 60 years old – not young anymore – but I trust that this new generation – people like Gavin Newsom and Ro Khanna can solve some of the problems the older generation has made, like these hideous deficits and this chronic unemployment in our state.
    To bolster my point I urge people to read this book by Ro Khanna has written on re-vitalizing the manufacturing sector. Ro Khanna has ideas – good ideas on what government can do to put people back to work. Not just computer programmers, we are talking about blue collar people, so I am strongly supporting Khanna for the 17th district. Khanna, despite the Yale pedigree, is a guy that fights for blue collar folks.

  • Elwood

    Let the battle of the silly paid shills begin!

  • GV Haste

    Bluecollar Voter Says
    “Khanna, despite the Yale pedigree, is a guy that fights for blue collar folks”

    OK, so what is his stance on immigration reform?
    The proposed senate bill intends to wait for at least 5 years before making all business concerns use E-Verify.
    Is Ro a strong supporter of E-Verify in all employment situations following passage of the bill, including residental construction sites where currently a large percentage of workers are undocumented?
    And after passage of immigration reform, will Ro insist on workplace enforcement of the newly implemented rules, to include the detention and eventual deportation of any “newly” arrived undocumented workers?

    Or will Ro only favor those elements of immigration reform that don’t really help blue collar workers who often fair poorly when undercut by undocumented workers in many job categories such as residential construction.

    Or are jobs like carpenters considered “low-skill” such that we need to bring in tens of thousands of new workers from elsewhere? What does Ro think?

    Does he have a paper or position statement yet?

    Just wondering since you emphasized blue collar “jobs above all else.

    You seem to know quite a bit about Ro. What is his public stance on immigration reform enforcement, including the use of E-Verify?

  • JohnW

    Just watched “The Campaign” with Will Farrell on HBO OnDemand. Missed it when it was in the theaters. Highly recommend it. Extremely funny and, unfortunately, all too real.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    Re 5: The biggest battle RoK has been waging so far has been to get himself elected to Congress. If he is so darn brilliant, why didn’t he make a difference as an appointee in DC?

  • James B.

    @#9 Excellent point. Khanna held some worthless “Obama presidential appointment” in the Commerce Dept. for a mere six months. Who holds a job for just six months? That’s barely enough time to find the restroom and print your business cards. I’d bet that he has next to nothing to show for that time — not even a substantive memo written to the next “bean counter” above him in the bureaucracy. Khanna parlayed that so-called “experience” in being a self-proclaimed economic competitiveness guru. (Now that he’s published a book, he MUST be an expert!) Everything Khanna does is posturing — checking boxes off on some grand plan to propel himself into political stardom. Just like the high school student body president who is convinced that he’ll be in the Oval Office 20 years later. Khanna probably “bought” his way into that Obama appointment as a fundraiser or was a friend of a fundraiser. Commerce Dept. is the place where those type of people are appointed (do an internet search on “John Huang” to see how the Clinton Administration used Commerce Dept. appointments). Khanna is a corporate lawyer. You can rest assured that he would work every minute in Congress in pursuit of “no corporation left behind.” So vote Khanna for Congress — he’s a genuine “Khan” man!

  • James B.

    Another thing – Newsom has made this endorsement mainly because he is trying to kiss the ring fingers of the uber rich Silicon Valley types. He wants their campaign donations. Newsom has lived his life as a 1%-er as a Getty family friend. Also, Newsom has terrible political instincts. He set the cause of marriage equality back by his arrogant “Whether You Like it Or Not” speech at the very instant when conciliatory remarks were called for. See Newsom’s smug remarks be used against the marriage equality cause in this “Yes on Prop 8” TV ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kKn5LNhNto

    Newsom to the voters of Silicon Valley and Fremont: “Ro Khanna is your next congressman, whether you like it or not!” Having an affair with your campaign manager’s wife? Newsom is oily Clintonesque sleaze.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    #7 The bad economy has hit blue collar workers pretty hard, I myself make half of what I made in the Clinton era. I usually work six days a week, rather than five – I need to get the 8 hours of overtime, because the plant I work at doesn’t pay too good. But I am working, I’m happy about that – a lot of people I know are out of work, some for years.
    I feel real strongly we need to have decent paying jobs for blue collar workers – increasingly we don’t, and the US economy as a whole is suffering, you are not getting the spending in stores you used to get, the pay checks are too small, it has a ripple effect.
    President OBama recently said we need to revitalize manufacturing base – he says that’s critical, and Ro Khanna is saying the same thing. But in order to do that you need right leadership. You’ve got to create the climate for this to happen, that’s what the politicians can do, but you have the right ones in office.
    Frankly, Pete Stark, Mike Honda, and Lynn Woolsley, these are the kind of pols who would block the building of a plant if it they thought it would ruin views, or maybe create some more traffic in the neighborhood. These are old style bay area pols, who came of age when the bay area was adding jobs in droves. We are in a different era – for large segments of the bay area work force prosperity is non-existant – especially true for blue collar workers – and we need to put these people back to work, at decent pay levels. Ro Khanna, and Gavin Newsom, these guys are into this stuff, they want to put people back to work, grow our economy, and get California back to where we are again the job engine of the US economy. Employing blue collar people matters, they – Newsom and Khanna – get it.

  • Josh Richman

    Just to set the record straight, Khanna was at the Commerce Department for two years (Aug. 2009 to Aug. 2011), not six months.

  • GV Haste

    #12, Bluecollar Voter…

    In your answer you refer to my post #7.
    Then you babble on answering NOTHING I brought up.

    Why not just say you have NO CLUE about Khanna’s stance on the issue I brought up?
    Or that you think his position does NOT support that construction worker I spoke about.

    Go back and read post #7, and then come back and tell us you have no clue, or that you don’t want to state Ro’s position because it will contradict your claim that he is out to help the blue collar worker.

    Your answer in #12 is so weak as to seem as though you are deliberately avoiding my question about Khanna.
    Why would you do that?

    Right now I see nothing put forth by Ro to help the blue collar worker.
    Go back to his team and ask them specifically what is stance and timetable is for the full implementation of mandatory use of E-Verify. Including its required use on residential construction and other “non-publicly financed” construction sites.
    The sites where that blue collar carpenter and worker is 75% excluded because contractors and subcontractors use about 75% undocumented labor.

    Now, come back with his stance on that issue.
    Or does he not really care about those workers and their ability to have a decent employment environment in which to raise their families.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    Sorry, but for Gavin Newsom, endorsing Ro Khanna is cost-free — and, in all likelihood, a boon for future statewide runs for governor or U.S. senate.

    (1) In part with the benefit of hindsight, Newsom’s early support for marriage equality — way back in ’04 (!) in the face of numerous state ballot constitutional amendments banning gay marriage — put him way ahead of the curve, and made him a darling of huge numbers of donors throughout the country. Endorsing Ro Khanna opens up those supporters — certainly not all, but many — to Ro. That will boost Ro’s fundraising, which will keep him competitive even if traditional Democratic supporters continue to back Mike Honda in droves.

    (2) In backing marriage equality early on, Newsom bucked his party — especially Bill Clinton (who advocated the Democratic Party actually endorsing or staying neutral on those gay marriage bans) and then-State Sen. Barack Obama (who refused to be photographed with Newsom at the convention in Boston due to the issuance of marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples). Yet now Newsom’s lieutenant governor of California, and talked about as a future leader of the party. To say the guy lacks savvy political instincts by backing Ro seems to misjudge the history.

    (3) Say Ro falls flat on his face — who cares? No one will remember that Newsom, who likely easily wins reelection as lieutenant governor, endorsed him. And if Ro succeeds? Newsom will be remembered as the one who got on that train early, and doubtless the Silicon Valley and Indian-American supporters of Ro will remember that.

    Still surprised how many people underestimate the potential value politically of a Newsom endorsement.

  • Elwood

    “Still surprised how many people underestimate the potential value politically of a Newsom endorsement.”

    With apologies to John Nance Garner, the Gavin Newsom endorsement has the same potential value as a bucket of warm spit.