CA17: National liberal group endorses Honda

Rep. Mike Honda, facing an active and well-funded Democratic challenger, has won Democracy for America’s first endorsement of 2014’s congressional races.

Howard Dean“We support Democrats with backbone, who lead with vision and who fight for core Democratic values. We’re working to elect not just any Democrat, but better Democrats,” DFA founder Howard Dean said in an e-mail to supporters. “I’ve known Mike for years – he’s one of the strongest progressives we have in Congress.”

“It’s more important now than ever. The Tea Party has launched the most radical right-wing assault on the middle class that I have ever seen. They’re working to destroy healthcare reform, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and Social Security — and so much more,” wrote Dean, the former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman. “That’s why we need progressive leaders like Mike in Congress who have a record of standing up for our shared progressive values and fighting back against the right wing.”

DFA is the national liberal grassroots group and PAC that grew out of Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, and this endorsement comes as no surprise. DFA Chairman Jim Dean (Howard’s brother) and executive director Charles Chamberlain told me during the Netroots Nation convention in June that their organization would support Honda, D-San Jose.

Chamberlain this week renewed his criticism of Ro Khanna, the former Obama Administration official from Fremont who’s seeking to unseat Honda next year.

“Mike Honda is a progressive champion who delivers results in Congress. His opponent is a Silicon Valley groupie looking to buy support from wealthy CEOs by promising them their every wish in Washington,” Chamberlain said in an e-mail. “Congress needs more and better Democrats, like Mike Honda, not poor and worse Democrats who will do the bidding of millionaires over the needs of the rest of us.”

Khanna “has always stood by his progressive values and he will continue to run a campaign on his positive vision for growing the economy, investing in education, and making government more responsive to the people,” spokesman Tyler Law replied in an e-mail.

“Unfortunately, this latest attack from Congressman Honda’s allies is an example of the baseless name calling and divisive rhetoric that has left voters across the district disillusioned by Congress and yearning for real solutions,” Law continued. “The Congressman should take this opportunity to break the status quo and embrace Ro’s bold reform agenda, which includes rejecting PAC and lobbyist money, pay raises, special interest funded travel, and the gold plated Congressional pension.”

Khanna – who’s keeping a steady schedule of meet-and-greets, phone banks and canvasses across the 17th Congressional District – definitely has presented himself as a younger, fresher, tech-savvier alternative to Honda, and counts many Silicon Valley business notables among his donors.

But Honda certainly hasn’t shunned the tech community or its campaign money, either. Allied Telesis, a San Jose-based networking company, is among his top contributors. And both Qualcomm and Intel – companies that praised Honda in June for re-introducing a “Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act,” which would create an Office of Wireless Health within the Food and Drug Administration – are among the many tech concerns that have contributed PAC money to his campaign as well ($1,000 from Qualcomm, $3,500 from Intel).

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.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    RoKha is divisive by definition

  • Anonymous

    Wait, so Honda gets corporate PAC money and then pushes forward with legislative proposal that makes said corporations happy? Who’s the real “corporate groupie” here?

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Dean’s headshot looks like a dentist’s advt

  • Willis James

    Thank God for the new “top two” election process so that we don’t only have a choice of only ONE real candidate in the general election.
    Now everyone doesn’t have to toe Dean’s “progressive, progressive, progressive” extreme element line.
    Now we can have a candidate who doesn’t have to run so far into left field that he runs right past the warning track.
    Let Dean run a traditional far left campaign, seemingly unaware that we now have a new top two system.
    Finally dying in office is not the only avenue for change and for truly competitive elections for congress.

  • Elwood

    “($1,000 from Qualcomm, $3,500 from Intel).”

    Whoop dee doo! BFD!

  • Elwood

    Calif. health exchange shares data without consent

    Flipping amazing!


  • JohnW

    You may have missed the part that said the pilot program meets the privacy laws. All other things being equal, you wouldn’t want them to do this. However, given the deadlines and the fact that some people might have intended to sign up but weren’t able to complete the process, this is a way to help.

    If you went on the private sector ehealthinsurance.com just to browse and then logged off without doing anything, your name and e-mail info would be out there, like it or not. The CoveredCalifornia pilot program seems more benevolent.

  • Elwood

    “this is a way to help.”

    Help like this I can do without.

    Weak argument, worse analogy, John.

  • JohnW

    I’m in Medicare and have my supplemental insurance through Blue Shield. But every other company that sells supplemental has my information and solicits my business during the open enrollment period each year. That’s fine. It reminds me of my other choices.

    I’m more bothered by the companies that somehow have my name and keep calling me to sell walk-in tubs or hearing aids, neither of which I need or want.

    When I bought stuff at Dick’s Sporting Goods this past week, they told me I’d get a $30 discount if I signed up for their membership card. So I gave the guy all my address, phone and e-mail info. Then he asked for my SS number. Deal breaker. I told him they could keep the $30.

  • Elwood

    An interesting Congressional hearing concerning Obamacare privacy:


  • JohnW

    Something is missing here. We just have Uncle Joe Barton’s 4 minute bit. The questioning goes back and forth between Dem and Repub committee members. I’ll bet more was said on this subject.

    A few questions:

    First, how would Congressional staff discover something hidden in the source code. If somebody on the inside told them about it, why don’t they get the answers from whoever that person is?

    Second, if that is a real privacy disclaimer, why would it be in the source code rather than something that is just displayed on the web page?

    Third, not saying for sure, but I don’t think it would be a violation of HIPAA privacy rules. Those rules are designed to protect the privacy of health records. I don’t believe any health records are part of the insurance exchange process, since insurers are no longer allowed to use health status to deny coverage or charge higher premiums.

  • JohnW

    PolitiFact looked into this and rated it FALSE. See the link. More Republican malarkey. Barton is known for this kind of nonsense.


  • Elwood

    Sure a lot of dancing to prove that words that are there aren’t really there. Truth does not require dancing.

  • JohnW

    No tap dancing. There’s no there there.

    First, it’s a dormant placeholder line in the source code. Second, the “no expectation of privacy” has to do with the people in the exchange call centers, whose calls are monitored, not the customers. Third, even if the line were activated and pertained to the customers, there would be no HIPAA privacy violation. No health records involved.

  • Elwood

    You’re probably right on this one, John. I suppose it’s just that I have a massive distrust of this administration. There’ve been so many lies, including the whopper of all time “You can keep your health plan etc.” That I just automatically expect the worst. I’m seldom disappointed.

  • JohnW

    I’m always right, Elwood. Except when I’m wrong.