Republican Congressional candidate Vanila Singh appears to be receiving help from an unlikely source: Democrats. Working for Us PAC has been spending its resources on both promoting Singh and attacking her Democratic rival Ro Khanna in the race for Democratic incumbent Mike Honda’s seat in the Bay Area’s 17th Congressional District, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
California’s recently adopted “jungle primary” system in which the top two candidates – regardless of party affiliation – advance to the general election has Honda supporters stewing. They fear that Honda might just not be able to hold down his seat for an eighth term if Khanna, whom polls have predicted will come in second place, advances to the November runoff.
That might also be the reason that a Democratic political action committee is spending its money on promoting ads for Republican Singh’s campaign, the Chronicle notes. The PAC’s hope is that Singh will finish in second place, as the belief is that she would pose a lesser threat to Honda in the heavily Democratic district. This would almost guarantee Honda his seat. An ad that Working for Us PAC released to promote the Stanford-educated anesthesiologist touts a blue background and reads, “Vanila Singh for Congress: The American Dream. Republican Values.”
So far the Working for Us PAC has thrown $45,113 on direct mailers lambasting Ro Khanna and $21,425 on mail promoting Vanila Singh, according to a filing by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released this week.
Longtime Democratic party advocates shunned the PAC’s strategy of supporting a Republican candidate to block a bigger Democratic rival from taking Honda’s seat. Campaign adviser to the state Democratic Party Bob Mulholland called the “jungle primary” a “messed up system,” saying it damages grassroots politics, according to the Chronicle.
Working for Us PAC President Steve Rosenthal is not without controversy. A political strategist himself, he was the founder and former CEO of a progressive PAC named America Coming Together that was fined $775,000 by the FEC for violating campaign finance laws in the presidential campaign of 2004.
Rosenthal donated $500 to Honda’s campaign this year.