Monday, February 17, 2014

Khanna Enlists Former U.S. Ambassador to Lead Debate Negotiations

Jeffrey Bleich
CAMPAIGN 2014 | CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | Ro Khanna’s campaign has the videographers, maybe the party favors and possibly the venue all lined for a series of monthly debates this year with his congressional opponent. Now, he just needs a dance partner.

Thus far, Rep. Mike Honda is showing no desire to participate in any proposed disco debate even after Khanna has enlisted Jeffrey Bleich, a former U.S. ambassador to Australia, to lead its end of the negotiations.

“Ambassador Jeff Bleich is one of the most respected and talented people that we have in the Democratic Party and it’s an honor to benefit from his counsel,” said Khanna.

Bleich was named ambassador to Australia in 2009 by President Obama. He resigned the post last year and resumed his duties as a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson in San Francisco.

Honda, however, has resisted Khanna’s repeated calls to debate even as a roster of local media outlets and large tech sites have shown interest in televising or sponsoring such events.

Vivek Kembaiyan, the communications director for Honda’s campaign, said in response to the latest call for debates, “Given how early it is (the full field of candidates isn't set yet), the campaign has not made any decisions yet regarding debates.”

In addition to Honda and Khanna, there may be up to four other candidates vying for the 17th Congressional seat this June. The deadline for filing is March 7.


  1. Even though it won't benefit his campaign, Honda should debate Khanna

  2. I feel like if you asked Congressman Mike Honda if he believed in transparency he'd say "yes." Him ducking this debate is making me think twice about voting for him in the fall.

  3. How much is Ro paying this dude? And why? Does Khanna have so much money he doesn't know how to spend it?

    If he has money to use he should give it back to community. Maybe to underperforming schools and focus on the sciences.

    Seem likes political grandstanding at its best. And a waste of resources that could bring greater community good if he invested in our kids.

  4. Khanna has been planning to run for Congress and contest for Pete Stark's seat right after he lost his bid across the Bay. He decided not to run against Stark since he did not have the stomach for a fight. When he saw that Swalwel unseated Pete he started seeking out where else he could run. And he soon decided to run against Honda. His thinking: "this guy is old and I can beat him on the age issue alone." What he fails to realize that unlike Stark, Honda is very well respected in the community as well as in the party. What he fails to realize that his respect is demonstrated with the endorsement of his candidacy by the President. Stark was not.

    So while has been planning to run for this seat for the past 18 months, Honda has been busy serving his constituents in Congress? So if Honda has to make a "either or decision", where would his time be better spent today, serve his constituents in Congress or spend his time debating Khanna so early on? Would you want your Congressman to spend his/her 2 year tenure to plan for re election by debating opponents that early on?