Mike Honda Declares Victory

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) said the latest vote totals in his Congressional battle with Ro Khanna show an "insurmountable lead," so he declared victory Friday in the bitter, expensive showdown for Silicon Valley's House seat.

“Together we sent a message that the voters of this district value a lifetime of service to this community more than lifetime of service to oneself,” Honda said at a morning press conference in Newark. “Together we sent a message that this election could not be bought by super-PACs and rightwing millionaires and billionaires.”

Honda leads Khanna with 52 percent of the vote and all precincts reporting. But because the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has thousands of outstanding provisional ballots to count, Khanna has, so far, refused to concede.

The 17th Congressional District race pitted democratic progressives, loyal to the incumbent, against the Silicon Valley tech industry, which threw its weight behind Khanna.

Those two statements echo talking points Honda's campaign put out late in the race—although they don't necessarily tell the whole side of the story. Honda received substantial support from PAC money and many of the tech industry CEOs who supported Khanna identify themselves as Democrats. Khanna's campaign said it had no comment Friday morning.

During his victory address, Honda said he has no plans to quit after an eighth term.

"I'm not going anywhere," he said, according to NBC Bay Area. "I'm going to live until 103. There's no reason to retire."

Democracy for America, a group that raised more than $25,000 to re-elect Honda, called Khanna's a loss a blessing to the Democratic Party. 

"On Tuesday, Silicon Valley voters rejected Republican-lite Ro Khanna and the right-wing smear campaign that he and the billionaire CEOs who bankrolled his campaign launched against progressive champion Rep. Mike Honda," the group's director, Charles Chamberlain, said following Honda's presser. "Ro Khanna should know that progressives in the Valley and across the country will not forget the cynical fight he picked against a progressive champion in this race, the right-wing battle he waged for it, and the corporate interests he sought to serve."

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 UPDATE: Ro Khanna conceded the race Friday evening. Below is a statement sent out by his campaign:

Thank you to my extraordinary team and supporters for being here. I just called Congressman Honda to congratulate him on his victory after a hard-fought campaign. I wished him well as he returns to Washington for another term.

At a time when it is easy to be cynical about politics, I am inspired by the passion of both campaigns in this unique district. And I want to thank the voters. So many of them invited me into their living rooms to talk, and some did so even after making it clear that their vote was likely going to be for Mike Honda. That just goes to show that this is a district where voters are fundamentally fair, open-minded, and decent, and I respect their judgment and decision.

I want to thank my volunteers who gave up their favorite hobbies and too often their sleep to knock on doors, post on Facebook, make phone calls, and organize rides to the polls. Their dedication gives me so much hope about our country's future. They did not do it for me. They did it because they believe in the simple joy and awesome responsibility of citizenship.

And I even want to thank some of Congressman Honda's ardent supporters for their conviction. I became accustomed to reading the daily barbs directed at me even when I disagreed --whether tweets from Glenn the Plumber or DFA. The type of open debate and marketplace of ideas that this Congressional race fostered is precisely what makes our democracy strong and our nation the most competitive.

In the last week of the campaign when I was out knocking on doors in Sunnyvale, I met a young man in the Honda campaign who was doing the same. He approached me tentatively and said, "Are you Ro Khanna?" I pleaded guilty. He then asked if he could take a selfie to show his friends.

I was touched by this young man's civility. I thought to myself -- if only there were more of that spirit in our politics.

This long campaign has come to a close. My hope is that those engaged on both sides will channel their extraordinary talent to solve our nation's most urgent challenge: We need to figure out how to create a strong middle class in a changing, global economy. I believe, more than ever, that our district has so much to offer in building a fair and prosperous economic future for our nation in the 21st century. Our work is just beginning.

Thank you.

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.

3 Comments

  1. > “Together we sent a message that this election could not be bought by super-PACs and rightwing millionaires and billionaires.”

    No problem, Hondo.

    The rightwing millionaires and billionaires were able to buy other congressmen.

    Frankly, you just weren’t a “price-performer”.

  2. >You just weren’t a “price performer”

    Then why did they shell out so much cash to try to defeat him, Bubbles?

    • > Then why did they shell out so much cash to try to defeat him…

      Well, maybe the rightwing millionaires and billionaires wanted something more than just having a Post Office named.