Tech industry looks to November election in Honda vs. Khanna race

Watch closely the final point spread in the Tuesday night primary results between Rep. Mike Honda, 73, the seven-term South Bay congressman, and Ro Khanna, 38, a lawyer and former Obama administration official.

The two are fighting over who will represent the 17th California congressional district in the House. And they will capture the two top spots needed to head into a November general election showdown.

But the question for tech industry notables will be how much their candidate, Khanna, will lag behind Honda after today’s vote, and whether that gap is insurmountable or can be closed with more money, which translates to more TV ads, radio spots and mailers.

Ron Conway and Sean Parker have held fundraisers for Khanna, championing him as the kind of young leader who understands the tech industry. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and many others have donated to Khanna’s campaign.

Honda, who has the backing of labor and other traditional Democratic groups, comes to the race with a bedrock of support as a well-known South Bay official.  As Sarah Lai Stirland of Tech President wrote, the battle is turning out to be a showdown between two wings of the Democratic party.

Despite spending an extra $1 million, Khanna still trailed Honda by 20 points in a recent poll  by SurveyUSA for KPIX-TV. Honda had 40 percent voter support compared to Khanna’s 21 percent, as Josh Richman reported. Twenty-four percent of likely voters were still undecided at the time of the May poll.

If Honda comes out tonight with a 20 point-spread or more against Khanna, the Khanna team, and his tech backers, will have to ask whether spending more money to increase Khanna’s name recognition is worthwhile.

Above: Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna, foreground, at a May debate in Fremont. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Poogie Bell

    Khanna is a douche. He’s a shill for the exceedingly Republican power brokers in SV. Yeah…he’s a Democrat, alright. On the inside, he’s all GOP. This guy is about as progressive as Chuck Reed. If given a chance, Ro Khanna will give incentives to build green tech but do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the wage gap between minimum wage earners and the filthy rich. Look. Myke Honda hasn’t done squat to address the wage problem, either. But Ro Khanna has ZERO CRED. At least Honda has labour backing him. Perhaps this guy will get on board with a proposal to range the minimum wage in his district to $15 that Seattle just approved this week.

  • Stop Treason

    Despite spending an extra $1 million, Khanna still trailed Honda by 20 points in a recent poll by SurveyUSA for KPIX-TV. This is because American are finally Waking up to the nightmare what all the Asian Indian are really up to. Visa Fraud, Business Fraud! Money laundering, And all kinds of Criminal Behavior. But most of there number one goal is to flood the U.S with Billions of Asian Indians!

  • ellafino

    Khanna missed his opportunity when he chose not to run against Pete Stark who didn’t have the kind of backing from establishment Democrats that Honda enjoys. Labor may not be as strong as it once was but it can still get out the vote of its members, something Liccardo is going to learn in November.