On the heels of his well-bankrolled challenger’s campaign kickoff rally this weekend, Rep. Mike Honda announced Monday that he raised about $214,000 in this year’s first quarter toward his 2014 re-election campaign.
Honda, D-San Jose, faces a challenge in the 17th Congressional District from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official. Khanna raised a record-setting $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011, when his plan was to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District; Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell last year, and now Khanna will try to do the same to Honda.
But Honda, who since the start of this year has been rolling out high-profile endorsements including those of President Barack Obama and almost all California House Democrats, seems ready to put up a hell of a fight.
His campaign said Monday that he raised $213,944.74 from 345 donors from Jan. 1 through March 31, and has hired a formidable fundraising team to hit wallets near and far. Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, founder and principal of Arum Group LLC, will direct national fundraising efforts and Shari Rubin-Rick and Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg of Integrated Fundraising Strategies will guide the California money operation.
“In the last 90 days, we’ve added finance talent to build upon our on-going fundraising operation and we are moving ahead aggressively with face-to-face and online fundraising,” campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said in a news release. “In the second quarter, the Congressman will travel for fundraising events to Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, and Mayor Ed Lee will co-host an event in San Francisco.”
Among the contributions Honda’s campaign touted are those from actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame; Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer; and officers or employees from tech companies including McAfee, Phillips Electronics, Qualcomm, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association.
“This is a Congressman who works both for the people and the drivers of innovation in Silicon Valley,” Mielke said in the release. “He is known as a trusted voice to grow jobs, help families, and improve education. People at every level want to be a part of keeping Rep. Honda in Congress,” she added.
Honda started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand, so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to Khanna’s $1 million bankroll. Khanna raised only $18,000 in the first quarter, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar (he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2) and promises a much more aggressive second quarter.
Meanwhile, Khanna – who formally announced his campaign earlier this month – held the first public event of campaign Sunday at DeAnza College in Cupertino. The “Rally with Ro” featured a performance by a local dance troupe, as well as speeches from supporters including two members of Khanna’s campaign committee: longtime local labor leader Sergio Santos and Lindsay Lamont, a student who took one of Khanna’s classes at Stanford. And, of course, the candidate himself gave a broad outline of why he’s in this race.
“In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking,” Khanna said. “We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?”
Khanna ran through a series of policy points geared toward Silicon Valley’s needs, such as “tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas;” a need to “simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore;” tech-oriented education system that teaches code to elementary school students; and immigration reform that welcomes and retains job creators.
“The world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best,” he said. “If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.”
Honda’s campaign on Friday had offered up a roster of Silicon Valley politicians (including San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews); business and labor leaders (including South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field, Root Square CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins and Yonja Media Group CEO Dilawar Syed); and others who’ll sing Honda’s praises as a champion for the region. Honda himself was at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento this weekend, doubtlessly shoring up what few party-politico endorsements he doesn’t already have.
Read Khanna’s complete remarks as prepared, after the jump…