Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Let the 2014 House races begin: longtime CA Democrat lines up endorsements

Democratic Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose has already received prominent endorsements for the 2014 election.
Democratic Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose has already received prominent endorsements for the 2014 election.
Kitty Felde

Members of the 113th Congress were sworn in less than a month ago. But one California Democrat is already gearing up for the next election.

Six-term Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose announced this week that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has endorsed him...for the 2014 election.

Pelosi issued a statement Wednesday, saying: "Mike is a bold and effective leader who understands the needs of Silicon Valley and the 17th District, ensuring American competitiveness and fighting for American manufacturing, comprehensive immigration reform, STEM education, and technological innovation."

Pelosi isn't the only politico to throw early support behind Honda. President Obama also did so this week.

Honda has no official opposition — yet. But Ro Khanna, a handsome technology lawyer who is half Honda's age, appears to be positioning himself to do so. He's also Indian-American, which could help in this heavily Asian district, though Honda can call on his Japanese ancestry. 

Khanna served in the Obama administration as a deputy assistant in the Commerce Department and considered challenging longtime Congressman Pete Stark last year. Stark was defeated by another 30-something — handsome lawyer, now-Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Khanna, meanwhile,  is sitting around with a fat war chest — $1.2 million he raised in one quarter. And Pelosi attended one of his fundraisers.  Khanna has also done what most political hopefuls do — he's written a book: "Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still the Key to America's Future." He was on book tour in D.C. this past summer.

Currently, Khanna's day job is as a technology lawyer in Palo Alto. I asked him point blank whether he's running. He says he's exploring "all the options." But he adds that he lives in the district currently represented by Honda. "I'm looking at where I can make the biggest difference," Khanna says, "given issues I care about." 

The district is in the heart of Silicon Valley, housing Apple, Tesla, and Yahoo. It's the nation's second largest manufacturing center.

The race could prove as expensive as another Democrat vs Democrat race in 2012 that pitted a pair of westside liberals against each other in Sherman Oaks. The Howard Berman/Brad Sherman race was nasty and one of the most expensive House races in U.S. history.