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Monday, January 11, 2016

Khanna’s labor endorsement may have forced Honda’s hand

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | Rep. Mike Honda’s response to losing support of a labor union to Ro Khanna appeared breathless, maybe desperate. On Monday, the feeling was underscored with an astonishing roll out of new endorsements from five statewide office holders, notably state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Last week, Khanna seized upon a growing narrative asserting Honda’s traditional Democratic support is beginning to make a beeline to his campaign. Following the announcement last Wednesday of the support for Khanna from the 63,000-strong Laborers’ International Union of North America, Honda’s campaign was fairly quiet.

Two days later, though, Honda’s campaign bemoaned the loss of support, but reiterated his strong record among labor unions. The statement, however, appeared like a flailing attempt to plug a major leak. “It is unfortunate that an organization committed to advancing the rights of working class men and women would stand with someone who has never had a track record that benefits the working class,” said the Honda campaign.

The barrage of big-name statewide Democratic leaders also includes Treasurer John Chiang, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and Controller Betty Yee.

“Mike Honda has been a tireless and effective champion for his constituents,” Harris said in a statement. “From improving public safety, fighting to end human trafficking, and ensuring the civil rights of all people are protected—Mike has always been there. Silicon Valley needs Mike's continued leadership in Congress, and I look forward to continue fighting with him for our state.”

The sudden wholesale announcement of endorsement more than suggests Honda’s campaign viewed last week’s loss of a labor endorsement as a significant hit. Typically a roster of endorsements such as Honda released Monday would be better unveiled in a piecemeal fashion, possibly to build momentum at a precise time during the campaign or to blunt, say, negative news that may arrive regarding Honda’s ethics investigation. Instead, they were forced to go for broke.

3 comments :

wow. really surprised by this announcement. sounds extremely desperate. They put this up the next day! That's everyone they had in their line up! All endorsed last cycle so no new names on this list. Just the establishment backing the establishment (backing the establishment, etc., etc., etc.).

I am surprised, however, that Kamala Harris endorsed since she's in the middle of a major race herself. It's not going to make south asians happy with her. Not the tech crowd either. And as the Attorney General, I'm really surprised that she would back Honda given his multiple ethics investigations going on. Very Very surprising. Honda's supporters must have really backed Harris in a corner and forced her hand. I guess she doesn't have the courage of Newsom, Padilla or de Leon. I can't imagine this helps her beat Loretta Sanchez.

This endorsement was probably extracted under threat from Honda. I have heard of similar things happening in 2012, when Honda had closed door meetings with the Obama campaign staff. An anonymous source told me that Honda threatened to call President Obama out for not placing enough emphasis on hiring AAPI staffers unless the Obama campaign put a specific person onto his campaign. Funny in retrospect because Honda didn't really care all the much about AAPI staff as a whole and really sought to place a specific person at a high level on the reelection campaign. Now that I think about it, this sounds eerily similar to the pay to play scandal Honda is currently under ethics investigation for. Anyway none this matters at all. These are all establishment politicians acting the establishment politicians. Kamala will do a fundraiser and one or two events for Honda, and then go about her business of trying to win. I agree though that the timing of this endorsement roll out suggests weakness from the Honda campaign.

When Vedant Patel, Honda's political director, tweets that he and Honda camp will be more aggressive than in 2014, does that mean that they will do even more egregious coordination between campaign and office, even more use of office resources with pay to play favors to benefit donors, even more unethical and illegal behavior? Jeez. Should the OCE and House Ethics Committee be looking into them even further? I would think the two OCE investigations currently going on, would be enough!

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