Democrat Ro Khanna has appointed Joe Trippi, a Fox News Channel contributor, to help him lead his second attempt to unseat eight-time incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in 2016.
Trippi, a Silicon Valley native, managed Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, where he helped pioneer the “netroots,” an online method of campaigning and activism that has since become the norm in politicking. Trippi is also known for his 2012 success in helping Democrat Seth Moulton unseat nine-term incumbent and Rep. John Tierney (D-MA).
“A lot of things that attracted me to Seth are similar here,” Trippi said of Khanna’s campaign last week, according to the Contra Costa Times.
In a statement Wednesday announcing his campaign team, Khanna said: “I’m thrilled to have such a top-notch communications team to help me get out my message that Washington is failing our middle class, and that we need dynamic, energetic leadership in Congress.”
Khanna officially launched his campaign on Saturday in Santa Ana. Having raised over $800,00 in the first quarter alone, he is off to a solid start.
Khanna lost to Honda by a mere 3.6% last year. His strong backing from Silicon Valley tech elites from companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook is also helping him in a region that is heavily steeped in the tech sector.
In addition, his ability to reach across the aisle will also be an asset. In an interview with Breitbart News ahead of last year’s general election, Khanna expressed his interest in appealing to Republican voters in a contest that, thanks to California’s “jungle primary,” featured two Democrats on the November ballot.
Khanna’s critics, however, are already hitting him hard for his bipartisan outreach. Honda campaign spokesman Adam Alberti said Khanna told the Times that Khanna “continues to raise money from the right while hiring from the left. Different names, same game. Based on his earlier losses, the problem appears to be with the product, not the sales team.”
Honda, 73, recently made national headlines when C-SPAN cameras caught him as he dozed off on the House floor while his colleagues debated funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It was not his first time napping.
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