CA17: Singh & Khanna campaigns step it up

Watch for Republican candidate Vanila Singh to step up her 17th Congressional District campaign significantly in the next few weeks.

Vanila SinghI had coffee today with Matt Shupe, who took over as Singh’s campaign manager at the start of this month. Shupe formerly was executive director of the San Francisco Republican Party, working for county chairwoman and state GOP Vice Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon; before that, he served three months as deputy manager of Andy Vidak’s successful state Senate campaign in early 2013 and has run or helped build several other campaigns.

Shupe, 29, brings a network of contacts from those campaigns and from his leadership roles with the California College Republicans that he says “can rapidly accelerate the growth of an operation,” he said. That’s what he intends to do for Singh – a speedy ramp-up using volunteers from all over the Bay Area to bolster Singh’s bid to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

It’s not as if they have much else to do. Shupe said Bay Area Republicans really only have two competitive races – this one, and Dublin attorney Catharine Baker’s run against three Democrats in the 16th Assembly District. “So I’m able to suck up a lot of the talent,” he said, adding his volunteer roster keeps growing. “Right now I’d say our list is in the hundreds.”

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and his staff and volunteers will celebrate the opening of his campaign’s Cupertino field office from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at 20111 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 130. The campaign’s headquarters is in Fremont, but this office will be a hub for grassroots efforts in Cupertino and Sunnyvale. Cupertino council members Orrin Mahoney and Rod Sinks are expected to attend the event.

Khanna’s staff is touting his social media progress – now at 10,398 Facebook likes and 1,778 Twitter followers, compared to Honda’s 4,182 likes and 785 Twitter followers or Singh’s 1,064 Facebook likes and 280 Twitter followers. But social media only go so far, and Khanna’s campaign is maintaining a full schedule of neighborhood canvasses and phone banks.

Singh is holding a happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Thursday, April 24 at C&J’s Sports Bar, 1550 Lafayette St. in Santa Clara, and then will hold a campaign kickoff at 10 a.m. Saturday at her headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd. Suite 215, in Milpitas.

Shupe said he has seen a hunger from the 17th District’s GOP voters: “You can tell that Republicans in this district have never really been campaigned to in many years.”

And Singh has the resources to sate that hunger, he said, having raised more money than any other Republican candidate in the Bay Area; she had about $300,000 cash on hand at the start of this month.

“She’s definitely a pragmatic, reasonable, non-Tea-Party candidate, so we believe she can connect uniquely to the district,” he said. “This is voter contact, get-out-the-vote campaigning from here to Election Day.”

Shupe acknowledged it’s an uphill battle in a district that’s registered 44 percent Democrat, 19 percent Republican and 32 percent nonpartisan. But a poll conducted in February by Honda’s liberal allies had found Singh – who had entered the race at the end of December – already a few points ahead of Khanna, almost certainly by dint of being the only Republican in the field at the time.

That’s a strong base on which to build, Shupe said, and while the goal is to win, the journey might be as important as the destination if Singh can make significant inroads within the South Bay Indo-American community of which she’s a lifelong member. “It’s definitely party building,” Shupe said.

Singh so far has refused to take part in any candidate forums or debates. Shupe said she won’t participate in any event that doesn’t include Honda or that does include the other Republican candidate, Joel Vanlandingham, whom she believes was recruited into the race by Khanna supporters in order to split the GOP vote. “He’s really degrading the election, I think.”

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.

  • Catharine Baker and the Contra Costa GOP — home of such legends as Lynne Leach and Guy Houston — better get their rears in gear if they wish to prevent Steve Glazer from facing off against Tim Sbranti in November. . . .

  • Marga

    Singh is such a piece of work. She became a Republican the day she decided to run, and her only purpose for running is to bring Indian internal politics into America. The Republican party eats her up because, well, she may be palatable to voters as she is not really a Republican. Of course she ducks debates, lest she show that she doesn’t really know anything about any issue beyond who should be prime minister of India.

    But it sounds that journalists like Josh are giving her a pass. I hate to think that it’s because she’s pretty and, I’m guessing, nice.

    In any case, come June she will be yesterday’s news. We can only hope the same can be said about the elephant in the room, Narendra Modi – a man who is truly dangerous.

  • Hisazo

    This is so funny: Vanila Singh refusing to participate if her GOP opponent IS included. “I’m Vanila Singh and I hate competition because…. Waaaaaah waaaaaaaaah!!!”

    Absentee voting starts soon. She’d better get that vaunted Silicon Valley Republican Machine turning out the votes just like they always have…

  • Harsha Vittal

    It is about time there is voice in the bay area for Republicans. I applaud Dr.Singh for her courage and her convictions. In a time when all we hear is the same old dialogue from career politicians like Honda and Khanna, it is refreshing to have someone who is clearly doing this to help her community.
    When one party has complete control, corruption abounds. We need more balance in state and national politics. The only way positive change occurs is when both sides of the aisle work together to improve the lives of all people.
    The first step in achieving this change in California is to elect Dr. Vanila Singh to the United States Congress.

  • JohnW

    Whatever became of Guy Houston? Both he and Richard Pombo have virtually disappeared.

    I received three calls from the Sbranti organization. They were taken aback that somebody who contributed to Obama in 2008 and 2012 was supporting Glazer rather than their good union guy.

  • peninsulamom

    Dr. Vanila Singh is a breath of fresh air, a return to the ideal representative that our founders’ envisioned and intended. She’s not a bought politician who caters to unions and a failed, destructive, progressive agenda (Honda), or an opportunist that launches a run in any district without the support of his party (Khanna). She’s a Stanford physician, wife and mom who is willing to serve her district and her country and set aside her professional career to return our nation back to the people. She’s the kind of conservative that any common sense voter can support. I know the Republican brand gets in the way of the media reporting, but most people realize that the Democrats’ economic, healthcare, education, foreign policies etc., are a disaster that has a death grip on our culture and country. Please vote for Vanila!

  • Willis James

    You got that, they expect everyone to march in lock step if they give the “union” approval.

    Sorry, but when the guy is so far deep into union hands and his prior job was as a union rep for the CTA, then we simply have a unthinking rubber stamp.
    I voted for Obama both times and I’d vote for Glazer in a heart beat.
    Wouldn’t consider Sbranti even if he had that missing vowel.

  • Willis James

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this “ideal representative” of our founding fathers, a individual who has seldom ever voted in elections?

    All of a sudden, she goes from a non-voter to a “ideal representative” ?

  • JohnW

    I would hope that she is a Republican in the Tom Campbell mold. I wonder if she has sought his endorsement. If she has sought it and been rejected, then I might have some questions.

  • peninsulamom

    I’m not interested in correcting you if you can’t comprehend the concept of our founders’ ideal that representatives be ordinary folks — not lobbyist politicians who stay put to advance special interest agendas, for unions, the tech industry, environmental capitalist cronies. etc. Ideal as in a hardworking immigrant who studied hard, trained hard to attend the best schools and work at one of our nation’s premier medical centers who is willing to use her knowledge and talents to become a representative for the people, not for her ego, because she is truly concerned about preserving the opportunities that she and so many others have been able to pursue in our amazing country to reach his/her potential. I don’t know her specific voting record, but if that’s the worst you have, I’m over it.

  • Willis James

    I guess she was just too busy to be part of our democracy before now.
    But now she wants to take one giant step to a major office.

    Kind of like a person never even taking a first aid course, suddenly wanting to be a medical doctor.

    Yes, sounds about right.

  • Elwood

    My God, she’s wonderful, although I still prefer chocolate.

  • Elwood

    Where do these people come from?

    Out of the woodwork?

  • Elwood

    The Singh campaign is enough to make a dog laugh.

  • Marga

    So, according to you, the founder’s fathers ideals were to make sure that a man who supported the mass killing of Muslim men, women and children, be granted a visa to visit America? I guess that will be in the next version of the History books, Singh’s organization will sue to put in the classroom.

  • Marga

    Narendra Modi is not “most people”. But you knew that.

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell

    ??????? This person didn’t even mention Modi. You seem to be an anti-Indian fanatic troll who instantly links any Indian person supporting Republicans with Modi. Vittal is an MD (you are some random ‘journalist’) and so is Singh who is running on less regulation and less Obamacare. Maybe Vittal, like most MDs, want to see Obamacare changed (60% of MDs disagree with Obamacare). California is overtaxed (polls of Californians support this) and over-regulated making CA the worst state to do business in.

    Indian people can support whoever they want. Just because you’re Indian, living in CA-17, and vote for Singh doesn’t mean you’re a supporter of Modi.

    Your racism against Indians is clearly showing. You should do more to support your community Margarita. Hispanics are some of the least educated, poorest minorities on America. It is sad and I hope things get better for them. Indians are a minority with the highest income and highest educational level. Perhaps that is why you have so much hatred for Indians.

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell

    Why do you assume that every Indian is racist against Muslims? You are very racist Margarita Lacabe.

    And our founding fathers, (particularly Thomas Jefferson) would not have wanted to get involved in foreign entanglements (which is what this visa issue is)

    Maybe shed your racism against Indians and try picking up a history book.

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell

    And the only thing you say about Indian Republicans is that they support Modi. Most of your posts are filled with vitriolic racist rants against Indians.

    And regarding Modi, it is isn’t foolish Americans (like you) who will judge him. It will be the courts of India (which have cleared him numerous times) and the voters of India. That is democracy and justice, unlike what fanatic leftists like you want.

    I’m pretty sure your a Khanna plant who will spare no bones in trying to win this election. Hopefully Honda wins.

  • Willis James

    Drs Singh and Vittal must love being defended by someone who goes by the name of Jerry Fagwell.

    Unless of course, its a double reverse dirty trick…I hear Donald Segretti still lives in California.

  • Marga

    “Why do you assume that every Indian is racist against Muslims?”

    The question implies that there are no such things as Indian Muslims. Is that what you want and why you support Modi?

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell

    Obviously not. Only a foolish pathetic fake ‘journalist’ like you would make a baseless assumption like that.
    Why are you being racist and assuming that all Indian Muslims are against Modi? Who are you to speak on behalf of all Indian Muslims? Major Muslim organizations in India are on record stating that Muslims do not need to fear Modi with one leader saying “Do not try to gain our votes in a negative way by showing the fear of a particular individual. Muslims won’t be deterred by that”.

    It seems as if racists like you Margarita Lacabe, think that you speak on behalf of Indian Muslims. You DO NOT.

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell


  • Marga

    Oh, we’ve heard from this person before. It’s the pro-Modi/anti-Latino troll. But the fact that he’s the kind of supporter that Singh has – and that her campaign has not come here to distance themselves from him, does pretty much confirm my impressions about Singh.

  • The Reverend Jerry Fagwell

    So you assume that someone who supports a certain candidate means that that candidate agrees with everything that person is saying.

    Your intellectual vapidity is showing quite well. Maybe that’s why you went to law school but never took the bar exam.

  • Marga

    Dr. Vanila Singh would be a great candidate. You are correct.

  • Marga

    Ro Khanna is bringing his dirty Chicago politics to CA-17. Dr. Singh would make a better choice.

  • Marga

    I don’t speak on behalf of Indian Muslims. I speak on behalf of the international principles of human rights.

    It matters little whether Modi’s victims were Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs. He has happens to be a HIndu supremacist and it’s the humanity of Muslims which he discounts now, but leaders who discount the humanity of any group may just as easily discount the humanity of any other. Sure, they may get political allies among representative of those groups, in every holocaust there are collaborators, it doesn’t change the equation.

    But I know that the words of a Latino have no impact on you, uneducated and poor as we are – sort of like the Gujarati victims, come to think of it. Here is a great op-ed in the NYT. It’s by an Indian, so you may find it more credible.


  • Marga

    Anyone has any doubt as to who plays dirty politics? Creating an account impersonating me, stealing both my name and my copyrighted logo, to support Singh.

    Josh, I know you can check what IP addresses comments come from. I hope you will ask Dr. Singh to comment on the tactics of her supporters.

  • Marga

    Either way Dr Vittal is correct about Dr. Singh. We need a fresh force, not a puppet of Silicon Valley, like Ro Khanna.

  • George Mathai

    Great to see an authentic Republican in the race not plants from
    Chicago politics. Local girl who has lived all over the country (looking at her bio) and returning home to help her community and her patients.

    She looks ready to counter the runaway corruption in Washington, the devastation inflicted on the world’s leading healthcare system and the weakness projected all over the globe by this government.

    We need to someone to get our economy growing again without which our other problems only snowball out of control. Even though I’m tea party she definitely looks poised to be a leader.

    Go get’em Dr. Singh.

  • Willis James

    “Great to see an authentic Republican in the race”

    Yes, she can join the ranks of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman….all three of them who never miss a opportunity to miss a opportunity to vote in elections.

    Yet they feel entitled to run for high office as their first step into the democratic process.

    However, due to her young age, Dr. Singh can’t quite match Meg Whitman’s 28 year stretch without voting.

    Nice to see the Tea Party has her back.

  • The IP address is identical to that of Rev. Jerry, above.

  • Rev. Jerry: I see you’ve posted several comments here using Marga’s name and avatar. This blog won’t tolerate sock-puppetry; any further such comments will be deleted, and if you continue doing it, I’ll blacklist your IP address from this blog. Please make your points without impersonating others.

  • George Mathai

    All those who are concerned for the country will have her back. Except for the carpetbagger support which would be locked-up by the other camp.