CONGRESS 17 | Ro Khanna, the attorney and former Department of Commerce official, officially announced Tuesday his long-awaited bid for Congress in the 17th District against incumbent Rep. Mike Honda, who has been avidly preparing for the coming race with an onslaught of big-name Democratic endorsements and political bravado.
Khanna released a Youtube video (watch it below) today talking about the smoothing over divisions between both parties and how he will support any idea that works best for America regardless of what party it comes from. It’s a similar argument for moderation that voters in the nearby 15th Congressional District heard from Rep. Eric Swalwell when he challenged former Rep. Pete Stark last year.
“The status quo won’t help us grow our economy or grow jobs for tomorrow. I’m running for Congress because I believe in Silicon Valley’s innovation and ideas can cut through old style Washington politics,” said Khanna on his announcement video.
Khanna has also amassed an impressive campaign team that helped get President Barack Obama win re-election, even though the President has already endorsed Khanna’s opponent, Honda, for Congress. Khanna’s campaign chairman is Steve Spinner, who was an Obama campaign fundraiser and Energy Department adviser, Larry Grisolano, Obama’s Director of Paid Media and Opinion Research, Jeremy Bird, Khanna’s general consultant and Obama’s National Field Director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, Leah Cowan, campaign manager for Khanna who was Obama’s Regional Field Director for 2012.
There is also David Binder, a pollster who also did statistical and qualitative analysis for both Obama’s presidential campaigns, consultant John Kupper was Obama’s former advertising consultant, organizing director Anthony Nagatani who worked with Cowan on Obama’s re-election campaign and consultant Mark Beatty who served as Deputy Battleground States Director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Finally there is also consultant Lynda Tran who served as Director of Communications for National Traffic Safety Administration at the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
Khanna’s all-star campaign team will have their work cut out for them as they prepare to plow into Honda’s bolstered defense. Honda has been consistently rolling out big name endorsements in the past few months including Obama, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and State Attorney General Kamala Harris, among others. Honda has also been trying to build up his high-tech credentials as he prepares to face off against Khanna’s already noteworthy high-tech manufacturing knowledge. Khanna recently released a book on the subject as well and has been regularly promoting it through media channels, such as a recent interview with KQED.
Khanna explored a campaign against Stark last year but decided instead to wait it out until the aging representative retired in 2014, but Swalwell stunted those plans with his surprising victory last fall. State Majority Senator Leader Ellen Corbett then struck a deal with Khanna to take on Honda while she aims to defeat Swalwell, new District 15 incumbent, in 2014.
One inside East Bay labor source, who would not speak on the record, recently told The Citizen that some people in labor, who he would not identify, and himself were pushing Khanna to run for Bob Wiekowski’s termed out Assembly seat in 2014 because there was greater confidence of him winning that seat than facing off with Honda. But Khanna’s focus has been on national politics rather than state and just as Khanna had told The Citizen in January, he had made up his mind to take his chances against Honda.