But, the San Jose Inside article does represent the kind of campaign serendipity that suggests to a candidate the electoral gods might be on their side. Khanna’s team said they had no inkling about the emails that show Honda’s congressional staff may been dangling spots to potential campaign donors for an event hosted by the U.S. State Department last year in Santa Clara. That is, not until the story published last Wednesday was about to be put to bed last Monday. Khanna’s campaign declined to comment for the alt-weekly article, but later staged a press conference to highlight his supporters had filed an official ethics complaint.
What likely occurred is the source holding the emails contacted San Jose Inside because it knew the newspaper and the reporter, Josh Koehn, had previously written less-than-positive stories on Honda. Whether the allegation has enough substance to affect the Honda’s re-election is probably low. After more than a decade in Washington Honda is hardly the face of Beltway corruption. Moreover, congressional offices straddle the line between crossing over to the re-election campaign all the time. At this point, the allegations are akin to driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone and the level of deceit is quite low. In addition, the emails clearly show they were communicating how far is too far. However, the laws of gravity do not apply to political campaigns and perception is almost as good as reality.
Heading into the make-or-break televised debate on Oct. 6, Khanna has been given two giant hammers to wield that night. One offers reasonable doubt for undecided voters and another allows him to mock Honda’s tech cred, or, lack thereof. If Khanna merely strings together these words: Congress, unethical behavior, State Department and Honda, it conveys some sort of Watergate deceit going on in Honda’s office. Second, the fun tidbit in the San Jose Inside article showing Honda needed help to hook up his Netflix account to his Apple TV is a rib-tickling scene for Silicon Valley nerds who think the Big Bang Theory is the funniest 30 minutes of their life. Overall, if this campaign finance story becomes a steady stream of bad press for Honda, it will be an interesting October in the South Bay. What Khanna wants regular voters in the 17th District to say and, conversely, what Honda don't want them to utter is the word "again," as in again?!
Can you hear me now?: Assemblyman