Daily Kos is proud to announce that we are endorsing the re-election of Rep. Mike Honda in California's 17th district, who is facing a primary challenge from the right by Ro Khanna. Daily Kos only endorses in primaries where the contrast couldn't be clearer, with a strong progressive Democrat pitted against one who fails to meet some very basic tests—an NRA darling or a participant in a Republican redistricting scheme, for instance. And this is just such a primary.
Mike Honda has been a strong progressive Democratic member of Congress since being elected in 2000 to represent Silicon Valley; before entering politics he was a longtime teacher and school principal. On the issues, Honda checks basically every box the Daily Kos community could want, and has the voting record to back it up. But that in itself isn't enough for us to ask you to give him money and support. That push comes from the race Ro Khanna is running against him. Honda has a strong record of support for the tech industry, but Khanna is running as the candidate of the tech CEO:
The average size of individual contributions to Mr. Khanna’s campaign is double to triple those of Mr. Honda’s. In the latest filing, of the 220 individual donors to Mr. Khanna’s campaign, 27 listed their occupation as “C.E.O.,” four as “chief financial officers” and about 40 as being involved in investments.Meanwhile, he's making a big deal of not taking money from lobbyists or PACs—something he can obviously well afford to do. In previous quarters, Khanna's donors included Marc Leder, who you may remember as the host of the fundraiser at which Mitt Romney made his "47 percent" remarks, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who has given millions of dollars to Club for Growth Action. Honda has support from labor and organizations like the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood, but big donors like these have allowed Khanna to not only outraise Honda but have more than three times as much cash on hand. That kind of money will let you run an impressive campaign even if tech CEOs and investors are your only natural constituency.
Khanna has been looking for a district from which to get to Congress. He considered running in 2012 if then-Rep. Pete Stark retired, only to watch another Democrat defeat Stark; he's not deferring this time around and has even refused to refund money to donors who gave to him for a race to replace Stark but don't want to support his run against Honda.
Honda has the support of the vast majority of Democrats representing California in the U.S. House, including Rep. Ami Bera, just the third Indian-American elected to the House. Honda also scored a dominating 92 percent to eight percent win over Khanna at a regional Democratic Party endorsement meeting recently. But Khanna has all that money, and we know how far that can go. Because of California's jungle primary, in which all candidates are on the same ballot and the top two advance to the general regardless of party, this fight could drag on until November. Mike Honda needs—and deserves—our support.