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.