“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).