CA17: Mike Honda mailer attacks Ro Khanna

Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign has sent out an attack mailer against Democratic rival Ro Khanna that repeats some of the same claims Honda made on his website last week.

Click to enlarge:
Honda mailer

The mailer from Honda, D-San Jose, claims Khanna opposed President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, supports tax breaks that send jobs overseas and is funded by millionaire Republican donors.

Khanna says he supported raising taxes on the richest but joined with Obama in supporting extension of the Bush tax cuts for middle-class families, while Honda supported a budget that would’ve wiped out all of the tax cuts. Khanna also has noted that Obama supports lowering corporate taxes on overseas profits so that capital can be used here in America, and that Honda himself seems to feel likewise.

Finally, the one of the two conservative donors cited in Honda’s mailer, Marc Leder, also has given money to the Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other prominent Democrats, Khanna’s campaign notes. Khanna has shunned contributions from all political action committees and Washington lobbyists, his campaign notes, while Honda hasn’t.

“It’s sad that after 14 years in Congress, Representative Honda feels compelled to turn his campaign negative four weeks before the primary,” said campaign manager Leah Cowan.

“This is exactly what’s wrong with politics today. Rather than offering solutions or defending his own record, the best Congressman Honda can do is smear his opponent,” she said. “Ro asked the Congressman to participate in multiple debates to discuss the issues face-to-face, but the Congressman repeatedly refused. Frankly, this is a sad reflection on his campaign – and on the Washington status quo he so eagerly defends. It’s time for the Honda campaign to stop its negative tactics and focus on the important opportunities and challenges facing families in the 17th district.”

Also running in the 17th Congressional District are Republicans Vanila Singh and Joel Vanlandingham.

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.

  • Marga

    I took a look at the references on Honda’s mailer.

    1 – Honda’s claim that Khanna opposes President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the rich comes from a February 2013 editorial by Scott Herhold, where Herhold says:

    “Where Honda wants to boost tax rates on high earners and treat capital gains as ordinary income — which would mean a tax increase for many tech workers — Khanna does not.”

    But that’s what Herhold said that Khanna said over a year ago, so it looks to me like Honda is pushing it into the realm of deception.


    2- The claim that Khanna supports tax breaks to send jobs overseas is just malicious. This comes from a 2011 article, also in the Mercury: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18725277
    This article states Khanna’s position which is not at all what Honda claims it is:

    “There should be some linkage to investment to create jobs and bringing back dollars at a reduced corporate tax,” [Khanna] said. The tax revenue, Khanna added, should be funneled into an “infrastructure bank,” a fund Obama has promoted, to
    pay for new roads, broadband expansion and other projects across the country.”

    Leaving aside the false claims problem, it’s interesting that Honda is attacking Khanna this early. It makes me suspect that they’ve done a poll they haven’t released and the numbers don’t look good for Honda.

  • LCatherine

    Sending out this mailer just seems like Honda is freaking out and doesn’t know what else to do. Obviously he’s really afraid he’s going to lose his seat to Khanna — but resorting to spreading lies? Come on…

  • Elwood


    In the eye of the beholder I would say.

  • Marga

    I’m glad you agree with Catherine, Elwood.

    I mean, if you can read Honda’s statements to be anything but a lie, I can read your statement to agree be in agreement with LCatherine.

    Then there is reality.

  • Guest

    This brilliant Stanford Professor Ro Khanna just got the SF Chronicle endorsement, and the San Jose Mercury’s news endorsement as well. Honda, the incumbent in this race, has lost the support of local newspapers, and he’s also lost the support of the local silicon valley high tech community too, who are backing Ro Khanna to the hilt. That’s pretty telling, the fact that Honda can’t get local newspapers to support him, or the biggest industry in his district – high tech – is very troubling for his campaign.
    Mike Honda’s answer to this is to unleash these false, inaccurate, mudslinging mailers – mailers paid for by DC PAC’s and special interest groups. Kind of pathetic really. When you don’t have good ideas in a campaign, and you are defending a weak record – which Honda has – you’ve got to resort to false mailers, sling some mud, obviously. I think these negative mailers will backfire, especially since they are arriving in the mailboxes right at the very time local newspapers are endorsing Ro Khanna. Local newspaper editorial boards have a lot more credibility than attacked mailers cooked up by political consultants.

  • Elwood

    Somebody still reads a newspaper? Their endorsement and $2 will buy you a cup of coffee.

    But keep up the good work, Ro’s staff!