Silicon Valley bigwigs raising money for Ro Khanna

Ro Khanna, the former Obama administration official who’s challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, has a fundraiser scheduled for Thursday night in San Francisco with some of Silicon Valley’s big names.

Ro KhannaThe top hosts are Ron Conway, a famed investor who is now special adviser to the San Francisco-based SV Angel investment firm, and Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame.

Also involved are Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff, who has hosted fundraisers for President Barack Obama; Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her husband, Zach Bogue; Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton from Benchmark Capital General Partners; Napster developer Shawn Fanning; Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of business development and monetization; Dropbox general counsel Ramsey Homsany, formerly a VP at Google; and SV Angel founder and managing partner David Lee.

The cost is $2,600 for supporters, $5,200 for sponsors; the 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. reception is being held in a private room at a North Beach restaurant.

Honda, 71, started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand and raised about $214,000 in the first quarter so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to the $1 million bankroll that Khanna built in one blockbuster quarter back in 2011, when most folks thought he would run to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark.

Khanna, 36, of Fremont, raised only $18,000 in the first quarter of this year, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar; he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2. This fundraiser might help him deliver on his promise of a much more aggressive and lucrative second quarter.

Khanna – a deputy assistant secretary in the Commerce Department from 2009 to 2011, now of counsel to Silicon Valley law powerhouse Wilson Sonsini – may be hobnobbing with the tech elite but he’s not neglecting his grassroots, either. He’s scheduled to hold the latest of his community meet-and-greets over Memorial Day weekend: a potluck lunch from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25 in Almaden Quicksilver County Park along San Jose’s southern edge.

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.

  • Given that both Ro and Mike got some top tier staffs on the campaign side, this race may not be won on the ground (unlike Swalwell/Stark), but with dollars.

  • RR senile columnist

    Considering what the old model Honda is getting done and what boy Ro is likely to accomplish barring the Left taking over, frankly my dears I don’t give a damn who wins CD 17.

  • JohnW

    Not in the district. Have defended Honda on this blog, partly as backlash against the “ageist” comments some people have posted here and partly because of his personal story. That said, I suspect Khanna is more in line with my center-left views in general and my even more centrist views on economics and international matters.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    If Mike Honda was doing a good job representing the Silicon Valley I don’t think Ro Khanna would be able to raise this kind of money from these computer moguls. He is raising huge amounts of money from the high tech sector – from a who’s who’s list of high tech moguls.
    If Honda was an effective Representative for the Silicon Valley he would have laundry list of thing’s he has done to improve the climate for high tech businesses. The computer moguls would be grateful, and they would balk at financing a challenger. I think you can only conclude Honda has done poor job representing Silicon Valley.
    I know some are claiming – like the Congressman from Marin County recently – that Khanna is playing the role of spoiler, that he is siphoning off campaign funds that would be better spent on other Democratic House races, but I don’t know how you can take that position when you look at all the money Khanna is raising from the tech sector. This isn’t traditional Democratic campaign money – money for wealthy liberals, this is money from the local business community – specifically the high tech sector, which completely dominates the 17th Congressional district. Apparently these high tech moguls are in open revolt in regards to the local Representative – Mike Honda.
    Imagine a Congressman running for re-election in Fresno who couldn’t get any backing from farmers, his goose would be cooked, I think. Got to think Honda, regardless of all the endorsements from out of town politicians, is going to have big problems getting re-elected in 2014, if he doesn’t have the support of the high tech sector.
    Like she did in the Stark-Swalwell race, I think Nancy Pelosi is once again circling the Wagons around an elderly, ineffective incumbent. She looked foolish doing this in the Stark-Swalwell race, and I think she is looking foolish backing Honda as well.

  • Elwood

    I understood that most of Ro’s vast war chest is from his fellow South Asians.

    Nothing like ethnic politics.

    Just ask Barack Obama.

  • GV Haste

    If Honda hangs on, think of what the district has for the next 4 to 6 years, because it is unlikely he’d have a strong challenger in 2016.
    Thus you are electing a person who is already not in close touch with the major economic driving force in his district.
    Do you really even think Honda is adept at using a iPad or is familiar with more than 2 or 3 apps?

    He will hardly be capable of carrying legislation crucial to the high tech industry.

    He is a very nice man, with a great story, but he is not the man of the future. Nor is he Pete Stark.
    It is OK to vote for a change, even when the office holder has been adequate and even when he is a nice guy.

    Think about what the 49’ers would do if they really wanted to win the SuperBowl.
    No need to ask, we’ve seen what they do to improve their performance.
    There is no more crucial district in which the high tech community needs to be well represented.
    Not only for the district, but for the well being of the nation. Someone needs to bring the urgency to Washington DC.

    I really don’t think Honda is capable of doing that.
    Not now and certainly not 4 years from now.

    Disclosure, I don’t live in the district but am a decades long registered Democrat.

  • Elwood

    @ 6

      Use Shill in a sentence
    [shil] Show IPA Slang.

    a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    In looking at how the Honda-Khanna race in the 17th district is shaping up – Nancy Pelosi has apparently ordered her people to rally around the ineffective Honda – I think Pelosi is failing to listen to voters. A few election cycles ago voters did away with closed primaries and they took away reapportionment from the politicians because they believed House races in California had become rigged in favor of incumbents, some of whom had become elderly and ineffective, like Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, and Mike Honda.
    As I recall – prior to these changes, a single house seat changed hands in a decade in California. Congressional elections in California had become a joke, you had no competition for these seats, once somebody got elected to a seat they could camp out for decades, like Pete Stark, who was in Congress 38 years!
    This new system we have – open primaries, the top two meeting for a run-off in the general, and non-gerrymandered congressional districts was designed to bring back competitive elections for House seats. No more same faces in Congress year after year, decade after decade, this just wasn’t Democratic. Voters wanted reform.
    Yet, Nancy Pelosi – apparently – is ignoring this reform impulse and she is insisting that elderly members – like Stark and Honda – be allowed to camp out in Congress year after year weather they are effective or working hard at their jobs or not. This position Pelosi has taken, circling the wagons around weak incumbents – just doesn’t jibe with what voters want. Voters in Cal want some turnover in Congress, you saw that in the Stark- Swalwell race, and I think you will see this in the Honda-Khanna race too. Endorsements by Obama and out of town politicians didn’t save Stark from getting ousted from Congress, and they may not save Honda either, especially since Honda appears to have lost the backing of the high tech community.

  • GV Haste

    Gee Elwood, I guess I couldn’t fool you. You are just too darn sharp, spotting a “shill” from a mile away.

    I do piece work. Will get $3.25 per line between now and November of 2014. Expect many more posts to follow.

    Keep up the detective work.

  • Elwood

    @ 9

    Yes, you and your co-worker “Bluecollar Voter”
    are busy early and often, I see.

    Did I mention undue verbosity?

    It must be piece work.

  • JohnW

    @5 Nothing like ethnic politics.

    So, with us white anglo folks no longer being a majority in California, is it “ethnic politics” to elect one of us?

    I think identity politics (Irish, Chinese, Jewish, gender etc.) in which communities of interest of various types band together to get “one of their own” elected has been a very positive thing for the country. It’s when “identity” is used to keep some group from achieving success that things get ugly.