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CA17: PCCC aids Honda, Newsom aids Khanna

It was a battle of the proxies Friday in the 17th Congressional District as a national liberal grassroots group came to Rep. Mike Honda’s aid while Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom made a plea on Democratic challenger Ro Khanna’s behalf.

Both say the race is basically tied, and that their chosen candidate needs a little added oomph to seal the deal.

PCCCThe Progressive Change Campaign Committee and liberal firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., sent an email to PCCC members – about a million nationwide, including about 125,000 in California – urging them to donate money to or make phone calls for Honda’s campaign. PCCC also is adding Honda to its “Call Out The Vote” program, mobilizing calls to voters from its national election headquarters and volunteers across the country on his behalf.

“Mike Honda is one of my closest allies in the House — a solid progressive champion,” Grayson writes in the email. “But today he’s in a tight race against a challenger lavishly funded by corporate big shots. The latest poll in his California district shows Honda up two points – and in this progressive district, that’s only due to corporate money.”

The email lauds Honda’s record before claiming “a bunch of corporate CEOs have decided they’d rather have a tool of their own in that seat, so they’re backing Mike’s opponent – a guy who has refused to commit to protecting Social Security benefits, let alone expanding them.”

As I’ve previously reported, Khanna has balked at expanding Social Security benefits but has repeatedly vowed to protect existing benefits for “current and future seniors.”

PCCC spokeswoman Laura Friedenbach said Friday that helping Honda win is a no-brainer for her group, especially since Khanna sent out a mailer blasting Honda as being too liberal.

“Khanna can’t seem to decide what party he sides with, but he’s made one thing clear: He’s not on the side of progressives,” she said. “This race is center stage in a national battle taking place between corporate Democrats and Elizabeth Warren wing Democrats for the soul of the Democratic Party.”

The plea for help on Honda’s behalf comes as Honda appears to have the upper hand in cash to spend from now until Election Day. But Khanna spokesman Tyler Law said it’s a sign of desperation.

“Yesterday the Honda campaign sent out a desperate email saying they might have to close down a field office,” Law said. “Today they’re begging for out-of-state-support because they don’t have enough local volunteers. Actions speak louder than words, and their actions are making it pretty clear they are worried.”

Newsom, in an email blast sent out by Khanna’s campaign, urged voters to sign up to volunteer in the campaign’s final weeks.

Gavin Newsom“Silicon Valley leads the world in innovation, and it deserves a representative who works as hard and is as entrepreneurial as the people in this district,” Newsom wrote. “That’s what Ro brings to the table.

“We need someone who will fight to make sure local businesses can grow, help create good paying jobs, and make sure the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top,” he added. “Ro has concrete plans to get it done. And throughout this campaign, he’s shown that he will listen to the people in this district and fight for what matters to you.”

Honda spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan replied that Honda “is proud to fight for progressive values like raising the minimum wage and expanding Social Security, and grateful to have the backing of grassroots allies like the PCCC and it’s thousands of members. This is a stark contrast to Ro Khanna, who is relying on the millionaires, billionaires, and companies that fund his Super PAC to call the shots.”

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CA17: Candidates hit the streets to GOTV

The 17th Congressional District‘s candidates are preparing for a busy weekend of getting out the vote.

Democrat Ro Khanna plans a Milpitas rally and canvass kick-off at 9 a.m. Saturday at 1297 E. Calaveras Blvd., featuring Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, Vice Mayor Althea Polanski, and Councilwoman Carmen Montano. Then he’ll do a “Students for Ro” canvass kick-off at noon at 3200 Coronado Dr. in Santa Clara; an “Indo-Americans for Ro” canvass kick-off at 3 p.m. at 43255 Mission Blvd., Suite 101 in Fremont; and a phone-bank with local volunteers at 4:30 p.m. at 20111 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 130 in Cupertino.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, will hold a rally, canvass kick-off and phone bank at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at his campaign’s Cupertino office, 10601 S. De Anza Blvd., unit 106.

And as previously reported here, Republican Vanila Singh will host a rally at 11 a.m. Saturday at her campaign’s headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd., Suite 215 in Milpitas, along with other Republicans including gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, lieutenant governor candidate Ron Nehring and 10th State Senate District candidate Peter Kuo.

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CA17: Singh to hold GOTV rally with Kashkari

Congressional candidate Vanila Singh will host a rally at her campaign’s headquarters in Milpitas this Saturday, May 31, with a slew of other Republicans including gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari.

“The Silicon Valley has never seen a Republican ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ effort like this before,” Dr. Singh said in a statement issued Monday.

Also scheduled to attend are Ron Nehring, a former state GOP chairman who now is running for lieutenant governor; 10th State Senate District candidate Peter Kuo, 20th Assembly District candidate Jaime Patino; and 28th Assembly District candidate Chuck Page, as well as party leaders such as Alameda County Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Caro.

The rally is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Singh’s campaign headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd, Suite 215 in Milpitas. Singh is running to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in the 17th Congressional District; also in the race are Democrat Ro Khanna and Republican Joel VanLandingham. A poll conducted last week found Singh running a distant third behind Honda and Khanna.

Singh launched her second television ad Saturday:

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CA17: Honda & Khanna plan GOTV events

Both Rep. Mike Honda and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, are holding events in the next few days to get out the vote.

Honda, D-San Jose, will hold a rally at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17, at his campaign’s Alameda County headquarters, 5944 Newpark Mall Road in Newark. He’ll be joined there by Peggy Moore of Oakland, who was the California political director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign; Obama endorsed Honda last year. After the rally, campaign volunteers will spend the afternoon phone-banking and precinct-walking.

Khanna, of Fremont, will hold a rally at 5 p.m. Monday, May 19, at his campaign’s Cupertino field headquarters, 20111 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 130. He’ll be joined there by San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, a 17th Congressional District resident who helped Khanna raise money last year. On Monday, he’ll help Khanna launch a volunteer neighborhood canvass.

“He’ll make sure there are jobs for students graduating from school and training programs for those who have been laid off,” Lott said in an email sent out Friday by Khanna’s campaign. “He’ll focus on growing our economy, while reforming the way Congress does business. He’s a leader who lives like us – and listens to us.”

Honda was endorsed this week by the national Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which praised his call to expand Social Security benefits and his support of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget.

Khanna was endorsed this week by the Milpitas Post, which his campaign says completes a sweep of endorsements by district media including the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Republicans Vanila Singh and Joel Vanlandingham also are running to unseat Honda.

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New chief for GOP’s Latino outreach effort

The Republican National Committee today announced its latest effort to reach out to Latino voters will be headed by a political consultant who not long ago was speaking for a major California candidate.

Bettina Inclan, who served as press secretary to 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Poizner and later that year spoke for Florida gubernatornial nominee Rick Scott’s successful campaign, is the RNC’s new director of Hispanic Outreach.

Bettina InclanOn a conference call with reporters, Inclan said the effort will focus on working with local leaders to spread the GOP message and stage get-out-the-vote efforts targeting Latino voters in the potential battleground states of Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada. California, where a heavy Democratic edge means the state isn’t so much in play, apparently didn’t make the cut.

They’re also launching a @RNCLatinos Twitter account and a Tumblr site to go with the RNCLatinos.com site they rolled out in October.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the Latino unemployment rate is about two points higher than the national average, and President Obama’s job approval ratings among Latinos have sunk more than any other demographic in his first term. Latinos are “tired of the broken promises and empty rhetoric of this president,” he said, and will be receptive to the GOP’s job-creation economic agenda.

“He’s losing in this Hispanic community and that’s because individual and economic freedom, good jobs and the American dream, rank number one across America and especially in the Hispanic community,” Priebus said.

Latino voters contributed heavily to the pummeling that California’s statewide GOP candidates took in 2010, and so the state GOP has stepped up efforts to court them by recruiting, endorsing, training and helping to fund Latino candidates.

There’s nowhere to go but up, according to a veteran GOP pollsters’ survey last March.

The survey of 400 California Latino voters had found only 26 percent had a favorable impression of the GOP, while 47 percent felt unfavorably about it and 27 percent had no opinion. It also found the party wouldn’t win over many Latino voters by stressing conservatism; only 22 percent agreed Republicans should, “stick to core values and nominate true Conservatives.” Philosophically, only a third were self-described conservatives, with a third calling themselves moderate and a quarter calling themselves liberal.

Immigration policy remained a sore point, with only 25 percent approving and 71 percent disapproving of Arizona’s controversial law. But the poll found more than seven in 10 voters would consider a candidate who says, “secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally.” And 69 percent of Latino voters said they’d consider voting for a Republican who talked about “ensuring all children had a chance at a first-rate education” even if they disagreed with that candidate on immigration policy.

Asked today bout Latino voters’ heavy support for the DREAM Act, which the GOP has opposed, Inclan replied, “Immigration is important – we need to address it, we need to talk about it” but the economy will be main thrust of the RNC’s Latino outreach.

UPDATE @ 12:40 P.M.: I see my esteemed colleage Carla Marinucci at the Chronicle had the scoop last month on another major development in Inclan’s life.

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Ron Dellums to stump for Obama in Florida

We all knew Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is headed to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, today for a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

But, look out — Oakland’s getting into the swing-state blitz, too. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums departs Saturday morning for Tampa, Fla., where he’s to do some early-voting and get-out-the-vote appearances Sunday on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Dellums, you’ll recall, had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary; she named him chairman of her campaign’s urban policy committee. It’s not surprising he’s giving his all to make sure any Democrat wins the White House, though some might find it surprising that he’s jetting out of Oakland for the weekend before city residents vote on Measure NN — a parcel tax to pay for hiring more police officers — which he helped put on the ballot…