Honda Leads in CA-17 Returns, Khanna ‘Confident’ in Comeback

With all precincts reporting in Silicon Valley's nationally watched House race, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) appears to have landed himself an eighth term. But his challenger, patent attorney Ro Khanna, isn't ready to accept defeat until all outstanding ballots were counted.

In an email sent out just before 4am Wednesday morning, Khanna spokesman Tyler Law said he's "confident Khanna will gain as late absentee ballots are counted.”

According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, more than 100,000 absentee and provisional ballots have yet to be tallied. That doesn't necessarily mean they will all affect this race, though.

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Khanna's attempt to unseat Honda in the 17th District turned out to be one of the most expensive Congressional races in the nation's history. Together, the candidates spent more than $7.3 million in a bitter fight that pit Democrat against Democrat in the first Asian-American majority district outside of Hawaii.

Khanna, 38, touted his expertise in technology and background as a trade representative for the Obama administration, arguing that he's more in touch with Silicon Valley's tech industry and the region needs "a stronger voice in Congress."

Honda, 71, defended his work, saying he's fought for the working class and helped secure funding for a long-awaited BART extension from Fremont to San Jose's East Side.

Supporters called Honda's early lead a win for the soul of the Democratic party, "a victory to the Elizabeth Warren wing against the corporate wing," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

But Khanna argued that Honda had fallen out of touch with his district and that, based on his record, he has been largely ineffectual during his seven terms in Congress.

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