Saturday, January 30, 2016

Honda fails to nail down important Democratic Party endorsement

Rep. Mike Honda, left, fell just short of winning
the Democratic Party's pre-endorsement in 
Oakland over Ro Khanna.
CA17 PRE-ENDORSEMENT | Rep. Mike Honda will have to wait another month before he can think about winning the state Democratic Party’s endorsement.

The 16-year incumbent, who is facing fellow Democrat Ro Khanna in a rematch of their close fought campaign in the 17th Congressional District, failed to win the requisite percentage of votes Saturday afternoon to secure the party’s endorsement outright.

Honda captured 58 of 86 votes (67.4 percent) at the pre-endorsement caucus in Oakland. Candidates who capture 70 percent of ballots cast are placed on the consent calendar for approval by the statewide party at their convention Feb. 26-28 in San Jose. Honda, though, fell two votes short.

Khanna, who had raised questions about the potential for voting irregularities at the weekend caucus, received just 15 votes, but the tally was enough, including 13 “no endorsement” votes, to block Honda’s smooth path to the valuable backing of the Democratic Party.

Honda, however, is still a favorite to win the endorsement next month, but Saturday’s setback is likely to raise questions of whether Honda’s once rock-solid support among the Democratic rank-and-file is, indeed, wavering in the midst of a still-pending House ethics investigation.

“It’s a huge victory,” said Khanna. “Mike Honda has been in politics for 40 years. He's appointed many of these delegates, so for him to have 30 percent vote against him, it’s a statement of his eroding support.” Khanna, added, he intends to take his argument for the party’s backing to next month's convention.

Honda did not attend Saturday’s pre-endorsement meeting. His campaign said Honda was attending the funeral of a close family member.

Honda's campaign, in a statement, said, “Despite not receiving the 70 percent threshold, our campaign is thankful for the overwhelming support we received from CD-17 pre-endorsement candidates. Sixty-seven percent shows that we have grassroots backing to win in November.

“We know this election is one of the most hotly-contested congressional races in the nation and our campaign will fight tooth and nail through Election Day.”


Amazing that Khanna blocked the endorsement. This is typically automatic and pro forma for any incumbent. It will be humiliating for Honda to have to beg the delegates in public at the Convention. Khanna will be allowed to speak and make an impression as well. The comparisons between the two will be stark. That said, the vote is secure for Honda given that he and his cronies appointed the majority of those delegates voting there.

This Convention humiliation explains why Vedant Patel tried to manipulate some "no endorsement" voters from voting last weekend. He knew the vote would be extremely close, so why not confuse folks and ask them not to vote! Better to have the denominator be lower than have a vote against Honda's endorsement in the numerator. 1-2 votes are all that mattered. It was worth his efforts as political director to avoid professional embarrassment.

Given Honda's other ethics investigation, I'm amazed that he would allow, even encourage, such immoral and unethical behavior. Patel should be fired, otherwise, Honda hasn't learned anything from his pay to play investigation. And if he hasn't, I guess he hasn't changed and that's still par for the course in his office and his campaign office operate.

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