Ro Khanna Rakes in the Cash to Outpace Rep. Mike Honda

Silicon Valley attorney Ro Khanna raised more than $1 million in the second quarter of 2013, ending June with more than $1.7 million in the bank as he campaigns to unseat Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) from California’s 17th District House seat. That means, to date, Khanna has raised $2 million, a stunning figure for an unproven congressional candidate.

The 36-year-old, former Obama administration U.S. Commerce Department official is challenging longtime incumbent Honda in the primary next June, after missing out on what would have been a likely win against former Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont) last year. The two Asian-American Democrats are vying to represent the only majority Asian-American district in the continental U.S.

Honda, a politician since the early 1980s who normally coasts to re-election, has raised $559,000 from 1,100 donors as of June 30, according to the Federal Elections Commission second quarter report filed Monday. More than half of Honda’s supporters gave $100 or less, which, one might argue, demonstrates his grassroots appeal.

Khanna, who’s taught at Stanford University and works at the South Bay’s largest law firm, says his platform, to bring Silicon Valley thinking to Washington, is what has garnered so much support. The second-quarter donations came from 700 individuals, 91 percent of them from the Bay Area.

None of the money came from political action committees, but plenty came from a who’s-who roster of donors in the tech world, including Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Napster founder Sean Parker—whose lavish Game of Thrones-style wedding Khanna recently attended.

“As someone who grew up in a strong middle-class family and who is still working to pay off my student loans, I am honored to have the support of so many hard-working individuals here in California,” Khanna said in a statement. “What’s clear from the early support I’ve received is that Bay Area voters are frustrated with Congress–and they agree we need to bring Silicon Valley thinking to Washington.”

Though Honda received endorsements from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama, Khanna has enlisted help from campaign consultants who worked for the president, including Obama’s 2012 national field director Jeremy Bird and presidential pollster David Binder.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

14 Comments

  1. “Honda, a politician since the early 1980s who normally coasts to re-election…”

    This is why I’ll vote for Khanna. After 30 years in DC, you become ossified and unable to address any of society’s problems. Honda’s had his time in the sun, now we need some new blood.

  2. Congressman Honda has been a passionate advocate for all of our communities during his time in public office. He has a solid track record. We need more Mike’s and we definitely need him to continue his leadership in Congress. Mr Khanna had his chance against Pete Stark. He didn’t take the leap. Swalwell ended up defeating Stark. Congressman Honda is no Pete Stark. Never will be. I will continue to support Congressman Mike Honda.

  3. PSA188- Amused to Death,
    You represent the backers of Ro Khanna. Were I him, I would deny you speaking for me, here on San Jose Inside.
      This week the Mercury News, wrote a very long column on the ill effects of Blood Lead Poisioning of babies and children in Silicon Valley.
    Mike Honda, has been a champion to this cause going back many years.
    Many of Us have been screaming about these ill effects for years, as men in the desert would be screaming for water. Perhaps it is time for those that neglected these children to come and stand next to Mike Honda and those of us that know the ill effects of this very curable condition in our community.
    Where are the corporations that could , with support change the future of our children in Silicon Valley. I ask you Companies, manufacturing in China, or God knows where else , but here, what is your responsibilities to your Valley?
      The Village Black Smith

    • Show me proof that Ro Khanna is in favor of children getting blood lead poisoning and I’ll take your rant seriously.

  4. > …his platform, to bring Silicon Valley thinking to Washington,…

    What the hell does this mean?

    I despise the vague, empty platitudes made by politicians.

    Silicon Valley runs on the profit motive. Obama sure as hell doesn’t believe in the profit motive.  Democrats don’t believe in the profit motive.

    What is this guy talking about?

    Who are the stupid people who are going to believe this crap?

    Oh, yeah . . . “low information voters”.

  5. I’m going to guess that the Santa Clara County Central Committee won’t blatantly spend $200k on Honda’s campaign like it did on Chavez’s campaign.

    They won’t want to piss off all those deep pocket folks that are backing Khanna.  You know.  Those people that pay to nosh with Obama when he flies into town.

  6. It’s ironic how Honda has given himself the self-proclaimed title of being “The Congressman of Silicon Valley”, yet he has almost the entire tech industry pitted against him.  That can’t be a good sign. 

    Honda should really start thinking about his legacy and consider life after Congress. He is better suited to serve elsewhere.  Perhaps a leadership role with the Peace Corps or the Department of Education. 

    Congress is broken.  Approval ratings have been in the toilet for several years.  It’s time for a change of the guard.  Out with the old and in with the new.

  7. PSA188
    THAT’S MY POINT EXAXLY! WE NEED NEW BLOOD, IN OUR CHILDREN, NOT THE TOXIC BLOOD OUR CHILDREN HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TOO ALL THESE YEARS.
    IT WILL TAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO RID THIS VALLEY OF HIGH BLOOD LEAD IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS AND TOY STORES.
      MIKE HONDA, IS THE LEADER THAT CAN TAKE US THERE.
    PSA188, DO YOUR HOME WORK, ON THIS SUBJECT!PERHAPS WHEN MIKE HONDA HAS HEPLED TO CURE THIS POLITICAL SCOURGE, YOU CAN ADVISE RO, ON THE CONTINUED CURE AND CONTROL THAT IS PLAGUING OUR YOUTH,AND INVOLVE HIS HIGH TECH SUPPORTERS.
    CERTAINLY DISTRIC 5 AND 2 HAVE NOT!
      THIS VALLEY NEEDS PLOW HORSES, TO TILL THE SOIL OF NEGLET, NOT FANCY DANCING TROTTERS, WITH NEW SADDLES.
      THE VILLAGE BLACK SMITH

    • If Honda had what Pelosi or Panetta has, I might agree.  You may like what Honda and what he stands for, but his record suggests he has been ineffective.

  8. S Randle
    I not only like Mike Honda, but our community loves and respects this man, especially for what he has given to our community.
    He’s infectious Smile, should be declared a National Treasure.
    In this County and State, He has raised the level of self esteem and hope to levels never dreamed of.
    I toiled at my anvil, for 40 years, creating proto types for what wasn’t yet Silicon Valley. Micro wave units for HP, Shuttle Craft proto types for NASA, and in all of this development, One man stood out , that could take care of me and my community, as I concentrated on the technologies of tomorrow, Mike Honda! How does one measure the value of a man?
    You don’t, you simply become what you take from his spirit and build a better community, as he is doing!
    The Village Black Smith

    • I like Honda too, and have voted for him every time I could.  I still think he’s been ineffective though.  No one likes to say it, but he lacks what others seem to have.

      Kahana has a chance to demonstrate that he can do better.