Khanna has a strong chance in the 2016 polls.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: Ro Khanna, the resilient young Democrat based out of Fremont, California, has launched a third campaign to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 38-year-old lost the Democratic primary to then-Rep. Tom Lantos back in 2004, and now he’s setting out for the second time to usurp Rep. Mike Honda from his seat in the17th Congressional District, which includes Silicon Valley. He lost to Honda last year.
Khanna intends to position himself as the tech-savvy, youth-friendly, grass-roots candidate, according to the San Jose Mercury News, and is relying on voters in their 20s and 30s who are expected to turn out in 2016 to more than make up the 3.6 percentage points that marred his prior defeat.
“That’s our natural base,” Khanna said. “We won those voters over last time.”
During the official announcement of his intention to run — an event that drew nearly 200 supporters last Saturday — Khanna vowed that he would not take any money from lobbyists or PACs.
“It’s going to be tougher,” he admitted, “but I am confident we will have the resources to get the job done.”
The Mercury News reported Khanna raised $801,000 in the first quarter this year, the majority of poured in after C-Span aired footage of the 71-year-old Honda dozing off during a February 27 House floor debate on homeland security funding.
Khanna is surely banking that Honda’s nap on Capitol Hill has served as a catalyst for voters who want change. The incumbent only managed to raise $258,000 in the same time period.
“I’ve been looking for someone who was not Mike Honda for a very long time,” Mary S. Morris, a Democratic voter from San Jose’s Berryessa area, informed the Mercury News. “People who fall asleep on the job need to not have that job anymore. It’s not about his age, it’s about his capabilities, and I don’t think he has those capabilities anymore.”
The son of immigrants from India and a Yale Law School graduate, Khanna spent some $4.4 million trying to convince voters it was time for fresh ideas, a commodity not on offer by Honda.
Although he had a smaller war chest, Honda, who spent $3.4 million, defeated Khanna, 51.8% to 48.2%. Honda had overarching support among the state’s Democratic Party leadership, while many titans of Silicon Valley put their weight behind Khanna, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On Saturday he said he had support from tech investors Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway. In 2014, Khanna was endorsed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Khanna plans to underscore his local involvement as a major pillar of his campaign platform, reported the San Jose Mercury News, which includes “working with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on the city’s manufacturing initiative, standing with Santa Clara residents to urge the City Council to ask the San Francisco 49ers to pay fair market value on the parks and soccer fields around Levi’s Stadium, and working with Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves to find a solution to the Newby Landfill’s odor issue.”
Khanna served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the United States Department of Commerce under President Barack Obama.