Rep. Mike Honda significantly outraised his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, in the year’s second quarter and has considerably more money with which to start their general-election showdown, according to Federal Election Commission reports provided by the candidates Tuesday.
Honda, D-San Jose, finished first in the June 3 primary election with 48.2 percent of the vote, while Khanna – a former Obama administration official from Fremont – finished second with 28 percent. Two Republican candidates, Vanila Singh and Joel VanLandingham, finished further back and so were eliminated.
A report provided by Honda’s campaign Tuesday, combined with the one filed in mid-May, show he raised $522,086.37 while spending $542,605.07 from April 1 through June 30. This left him with $1,063,355.97 cash on hand as of June 30, but he also had $7,176.83 in debts, so his unencumbered cash was $1,056,179.14.
“Following the decisive 20-point win in the primary last month, the Honda campaign continues its strong fundraising leading up to the November election,” campaign manager Doug Greven said in a news release. “Mike Honda’s network of grassroots supporters – more than 7,000 of whom have given to the campaign so far – continues to grow.”
“We are going to keep this fundraising pace going and will have the resources to win in November while our debt-ridden challenger has some serious catching up to do,” Greven said.
Khanna’s report filed Tuesday, plus the one he filed in mid-May, show he raised $337,673.26 in the second quarter while spending a tremendous $1,461,930.52 – which accounts for almost half of his total spending since the campaign began. This left him with $867,672.16 cash on hand as of June 30, but he also had $239,131.92 in debts, so his unencumbered cash was $628,540.24.
“There are only two numbers that matter in this reporting period: 50 and 202,” Khanna campaign manager Leah Cowan insisted in a news release. “That’s because a majority of Ro’s donations were under $50, while Rep. Honda doubled down on his 202 area code fundraising amongst Washington special interests. Understandably, the Honda campaign is eager to change the story after burning well over a million dollars and relying on desperate false attacks just to lose a majority of the vote. It’s become clearer than ever that voters will be supporting change in November, just as they did in the primary.”
That said, Honda begins the general-election race with a 20-point primary win, a big edge in money, the name recognition of seven terms in office, and the bully pulpit of incumbency. Khanna aired several television ads before the primary; Honda has yet to go on the air.
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Though some had assumed that Republican voters who supported Singh and Vanlandingham in the primary would break toward Khanna in the general, a poll in May found 19 percent of GOP voters favored Honda while 18 percent favored Khanna. Though only 19 percent of the district’s voters are Republican (while 44 percent are Democrats and 32 percent declare no party preference), the GOP voters could be a crucial bloc if either campaign can woo it. Former San Jose Assemblyman Jim Cunneen, the last Republican to represent Silicon Valley in Sacramento and Honda’s 2000 House election rival, has urged his party brethren to support Honda; former Rep. Ernie Konnyu, a Republican who represented the area from 1987 to 1989, is trying to rally support for Khanna.
Khanna once dominated this race’s fundraising. He broke records by raising $1.2 million in the last quarter of 2011, back when people thought he would run to succeed Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the 15th Congressional District. But Stark decided not to retire and Khanna refused to challenge him in 2012; Stark was then unseated by Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton.
After Khanna turned his attention to the 17th Congressional District and announced his candidacy in April 2013, he outstripped Honda in fundraising in each of 2013’s quarters; by last year’s end, he had $1.97 million in the bank to Honda’s $622,000. But Honda outraised Khanna in this year’s first quarter, and now again in the second.