Honda, Khanna Campaigns Beef on Twitter

In the digital age, election season never really hits its stride until opposing campaign staffers start beefing on Twitter. On Sunday, Andy Wong, a staffer for congressional candidate Ro Khanna, fired a tweet across the bow when he noted that Congressman Mike Honda had skipped his second candidate forum in as many days. Political consultant Barry Barnes noted in a reply tweet that Honda still nabbed endorsements from both forum hosts despite being absent, and the politician’s “track record speaks for itself.”

@MisterAndyWong then went on a tear, noting Honda’s track record for “doing little to curtail #paytoplay system that has corrupted Congress” and “not passing bills & sleeping on the job.” In November, Metro and San Jose Inside posted a video that showed Honda nodding off at his own town hall meeting. But just when the digital breakdance fight seemed reserved to a party of two, Vedant Patel, a staffer for Congressman Honda, caught wind of the beef and retweeted Barnes original slam. Wong wasn’t having it, so he took a screenshot of the RT and asked why Honda’s staff assistant was “routinely tweeting campaign stuff on government time?” There are House rules about doing campaign work only on employee’s own time, but who knows if he was on a break or not? (The #NSA knows.)

While tension has been simmering for months between Khanna and Honda’s people—Honda’s camp could actually be blamed for going negative first—a newcomer could disrupt the social media sick-burn balance. Vanila Singh, a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, joined the race earlier this month, leading observers to wonder if a relatively unknown female Republican could cut into Khanna’s votes in the primary. Singh’s campaign says it’s already raised $100,000—which is nothing compared to Khanna’s $2 million in the bank—but being the lone conservative and woman in the race could allow Honda to coast even easier.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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