Ro Khanna Unseats Mike Honda in Silicon Valley Race

Ro Khanna (Campaign)

Ro Khanna defeated eight-term incumbent fellow Democrat, Rep. Mike Honda, on Tuesday by 20 percent in a race for Silicon Valley’s 17th congressional district, which has been deemed one of California’s most expensive.

Khanna, a former Obama trade official and an attorney, had also challenged Honda in 2014, losing to him by just four percentage points.

Honda’s campaign deteriorated, and the race seemingly took a turn in favor of Khanna, after an ethics investigation into whether Honda had blurred the lines between his official political and campaign reelection work. Honda lost the endorsement of President Barack Obama, who decided to sit out of picking a candidate for that particular race.

Conversely, Honda, 73, filed a lawsuit in the final weeks of the race, alleging that Khanna’s campaign manager, Brian Parvizshahi, had hacked into a private computer system and illegally downloaded lists of financial contributions. Khanna was forced to fire Parvizshahi.

Khanna, 40, a left-liberal progressive, had consistently called for new blood in Silicon Valley leadership. He received donations and endorsements from big tech names involved in companies such as Yahoo, Google, and Facebook.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a spokesman for Honda’s campaign declined to comment, saying the campaign would be releasing a later statement Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in California’s 7th congressional district, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera barely led Republican Scott Jones, leading for reelection by two percentage points, (51 % to 49 %).

Jones sent out a tweet, with a full statement attached, Wednesday afternoon. He said, “the race is far from over”:

Bera had lost the endorsement of a major union over his support of trade policies, specifically, his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In August, his elderly father, Babulal Bera, 84, was sentenced to one year in federal prison and fined $100,000 for providing straw donations to his son’s campaign. The younger Bera  maintained that he did not know of his father’s illegal activity.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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