Endorsement: Ro Khanna Has Earned Chance over Mike Honda

Ro Khanna has run an honorable, focused campaign in his rematch against Congressman Mike Honda, and it’s time to make a change. Silicon Valley deserves better than the somnambulant, integrity-challenged representation it’s gotten under Mike Honda.

Now in his eighth term representing the South Bay, Congressman Honda has consistently ducked and dodged questions about his ongoing ethics scandal, and as recent reports have documented, he continues to play fast and loose with rules that were, apparently, never designed to be taken seriously. About a quarter-million dollars of his campaign funds this election cycle have gone to lawyers defending him and his chief of staff from the ethics probe. Honda even manipulated the timing of the legal defense fund reports to keep voters in the dark.

As shown in a 2015 report by the bipartisan Congressional Office of Ethics, there remains a “substantial reason to believe” that Honda’s campaign openly discussed and traded official access to big-dollar contributors. He had low-level staffers run personal errands for him on taxpayer-paid time. He created a list of elite donors to make fundraising easier and then went out of his way to champion their causes on the House floor. As Metro reported just last month, his campaign has repeatedly—and falsely—claimed he still had the endorsement of President Barack Obama.

The single most important thing Honda has done since the scandal began was join a sleepover on the House floor to encourage a vote on gun control. It made for a glamorous photo-op that he has since trotted out on his official Facebook page and the campaign’s, again showing he and his people have no idea how to separate the business of Congress from the business of staying in Congress.

And then there are the public naps.

Khanna played too nice in 2014 and as a result he came up just short. This time around he has gone on the offensive regarding Honda’s shortcomings, while continuing to offer articulate economic proposals and stiff-arming the Honda camp’s tired lines about being backed by right-wing GOP millionaires and billionaires. Both candidates are Democrats, and any suggestion to the contrary is just electioneering spin.

San Jose Inside will be publishing endorsements and information on local races, ballot measures and state propositions throughout the next week.


  1. HONDA

    **Campaign and District level staffers Doug Greven and Ahmad Rafah have been engaged in a campaign to attack Santa Clara members for supporting Khanna.

    **Imagine what comic book store Honda visited to recruit Ahmad Rafah, the joke of the Santa Clara campaign. Rafah lies on national blogs claiming to be the first ethnic minority to run for City Council, where at least nine minorities have run, and where a leader in the Latino Community, Roger Martinez was elected.

    **Rafah, a Honda stooge could care less.

    Vote Khanna

  2. Enough hand wringing by the old guard party establishment. Dynamic new progressive leadership is needed to take the party forward and show millenials that the Democratic Party means something more than pay to play, cronyism and fealty to special interests. Challenge yourself and move forward. Vote for Ro Khanna!

  3. You know what’s going to be entertaining to watch if Ro wins? All of Mike’s rabid supporters kissing Ro’s posterior for a job. It always happens when there’s a changing of the guard. Today they’ll decry Ro as an enemy of the working man, tomorrow they’ll do a complete 180.

  4. I completely agree with San Jose Inside’s position on the best candidate to represent Silicon Valley’s congressional district. I’m tired of Mike Honda’s questionable ethics. I’m tired of Mike Honda’s multiple mailers “paid for at taxpayer expense”. I’m tired of Mike Honda’s refusal to debate Ro Khanna (but I understand Mr. Honda’s position, as he knows he’d lose any debate). Besides, while “tired” describes Mike Honda and his campaign, Ro Khanna is the exact opposite, providing new ideas, new energy and clearly being the best representative of Silicon Valley now and in the future.

  5. Never thought I’d live to see the day that SJI/Metro endorsed a candidate I could support. Wonders never cease.

  6. Thoughtful progressive change is exactly what Ro Khanna embodies and exactly what this district needs.

  7. You break it, you buy it. Ro has taken more money from Wall Street than any other candidate for the US House of Representatives. The idea that he has any shred of integrity is laughable.

  8. I defence of poor old sleepy Mike Honda in spite of the alleged facts that he’s on the take and abuses his staff he’s nowheres near as dirty as the alleged crooked deals of Hillary Clintoon and her sex maniac husband.
    2 billion dollars is just not enough to retire on these days.

  9. “Khanna played too nice in 2014 and as a result he came up just short. This time around he has gone on the offensive regarding Honda’s shortcomings, while continuing to offer articulate economic proposals and stiff-arming the Honda camp’s tired lines about being backed by right-wing GOP millionaires and billionaires. Both candidates are Democrats, and any suggestion to the contrary is just electioneering spin”

    The last paragraph is the only positive argument for replacing Honda with Khanna and it’s not much. No one can explain why some backbencher freshman (which is all Khanna will be) is going to be more effective in Congress than someone with seniority.

    In my reading, the meat of this opinion piece is a takedown of Honda without an explaination for why Khanna will be better.

    Some this is just inaccurate: Khanna went to town on Honda in 2014, he just ran out of money so couldn’t close the deal but he certainely wasn’t “too nice.”

    Yes, they are both Democrats, but the reason Honda has very little chance of winning is because Republicans are expected to back Khanna again – so it’s a “centrist” versus a “progressive.” We don’t have viable Republicans around here – only different shades of Democrat.

    “Offering articulate economic proposals” is not really much of anything. As Larry Gerston and most anyone paying attention to this race has pointed out, there isn’t much of a substantive difference between the two candidates. They both can hire folks who will write nice pretty sentences. It’s true that Honda is at best inarticulate and at worst incoherent when speaking publicly but who really cares? Talking pretty is not legislating and the 2014 debate showed that it’s not like Khanna is some great public speaker. They’ll have another debate in October 2016 where Honda will be more charming than Khanna.

    On the ethics stuff, trading donations for access is what every politician does. There is no proof that Honda himself considered doing this at all – staff did as an (ineffective) way to raise money. Jerry Brown has his “dinners for donors”, Khanna has talks with John Arnold about pensions before Arnond gave $250K to the PAC supporting him, etc. The problem is that Honda is the incumbent so there are more stringent rules for trading access for donations than for a challenger (and those rules are better enforced than an FEC that is asleep at the wheel).

    Khanna can raise a lot of money and that makes the press pay attention, that’s all that is going on here IMHO (as an aside, it’s not like “tech” is backing Khanna – they don’t really care, $2.7K is pocket change in these circles, and any tech CEO can get access and ass kissing from any of the local Congesssman. As an example, Lofgren kisses so much tech ass that she makes Carl Guardino look principled).

    I’d like to San Jose Inside look into OO Investment and how the rest of the money flowed into the PAC supporting Khanna. I also think that Khanna is lieing about still being in student loan debt – he got paid a big salary as a corporate lawyer and comes from an upper middle class family so unless he is terrible at managing money he should be out of debt.

    I do wonder what Honda is thinking..this right wing billionaires talking point is clearly not a winner…maybe there is some other dirt on Khanna (the dude did cheat on a college election and cancel a check to charity so maybe there is something…)

  10. Honda’s been around for 16 years, has questionable ethics and takes naps at awkward times. It’s time to go.

    • Steve Ly,

      I don’t like either Honda or Khanna. To me there’s no difference, other than seniority.

      In case you don’t know how Congressional seniority works, it’s like this:

      Every term the incumbent wins gives him more seniority. Committee and subcommitte chairmanships are assigned based only on:

      1. Congressional seniority, and

      2. The Party in the majority

      That’s all. And Honda’s party is due to be in the majority again, either this election or next (R’s have been in the majority most terms since Honda was first elected.)

      In Congress, seniority is the way power is allocated, therefore seniority is the way spending is directed. So now Honda finally has enough seniority to re-direct lots of taxpayer money into our 17th District.

      But if Khanna was elected instead, he would have ZERO seniority! As a freshman Congressman, all Khanna could do is pontificate. But he can’t bring home the bacon. That takes seniority.

      It would take 18 years for Khanna to get Honda’s seniority. That is (or should be) the central issue in this local campaign: do you want your tax money to go to another state? Or do you want that state’s tax money to be spent right here?

      The pro-Khanna folks aren’t keeping their eye on the ball. The only thing hating on Honda will do is cost us money — a lot of money!

      And don’t be a stooge for Big Technology. They all want Khanna — which will cost the rest of us a lot of money, for many years. But they don’t care about that, because they’ve already got plenty of money; unlike us, their tax payments take only a tiny part of their wealth.

      But for the rest of us taxes are far too high, so we might as well get more out of what we pay.

      Finally, if there was a real ethics issue with Honda, why has it remained on the back burner for years?

      Smells like politics to me…

      So, VOTE YOUR POCKETBOOK. Your family is far more important than partisan politics.

      • Absolutely,
        Vote your pocketbook as these guys are nothing but Tax & Spend politicians, the only way money comes back to most of us is if it doesn’t leave your pocket in the first place. The 17th district being one of the 3 richest in the country is the target for your income dollars. Most of Silicon Valley’s big job makers are tied to Intelligence and Defence industry, not somthing Honda and the welfare state is ever going vote a nickle for.
        By all means if you’re working for a living vote for your back pocket. If you’re on public assistance vote for Honda.

  11. Ro Khanna has never held an elective office,but wants to start his political career in Congress ??? He’s even less qualified for the office he’s seeking than Donald Trump is to be the President of the United States ! Despite the specious ethics charges that this fish wrapper continues to champion & trumpet on a daily basis,Mike Honda has represented his constituents honorably for decades ! Bushwhacking a sitting Congressman & fellow Democrat is the epitome of ego,ambition & backstabbing by a smug self-serving carpetbagger whose very candidacy disqualifies him for the office he’s seeking ! When his plans to succeed the Honorable Pete Stark went awry (Eric Swalwell beat him to the punch) he decided to target & unseat another beloved liberal Congressman in an adjacent Congressional district instead. This sort of treachery,loathsomeness & unmitigated gall should never be rewarded with his election to this office or any other office he seeks in the future. He not only lacks the requisite political skills & experience for the office he’s seeking,his very candidacy reveals his lack of character,good judgment & trustworthiness that’s needed to represent those who’s votes he so desperately seeks ! As a lifelong Democrat I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him & I certainly wouldn’t vote for any candidate as fake,phony,false & fictitious as the unfit Delusional Democrat Ro Khanna !! No one ever questioned Mike Honda’s ethics or performance when he was vanquishing his Republican opposition by 30 points in every election & no self-respecting Democrat should allow his wet behind the ears Democratic opponent to impugn his integrity & reputation in an ill-advised effort to defeat him on Election Day !!! Returning MIKE HONDA to CONGRESS in 2016 is our only logical choice & will send Ro Khanna the message that South Bay voters will never support such a sleazy candidate as himself or his smear campaign tactics orchestrated with the help of his deplorable opponents !!!

    • Well Frank I guess we can count on your vote to go back to a more honest 2 party system here in California,
      other wise we will have to wait for this corrupt old dinosaur to drop dead in office of sleep apnea.

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