Honda leads Khanna in 17th Congressional District


SAN JOSE — Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, remained ahead early Nov. 5 despite a spirited challenge by fellow Democrat Ro Khanna to represent the 17th Congressional District.

Honda, elected to the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, was leading 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent over Khanna with 355 of 355 precincts partially reporting. Honda had received 41,480 votes to Khanna’s 37,931 as of 4:06 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Khanna, a 38-year-old lawyer, ran in part on his background in technology and as a former commerce official for President Barack Obama’s administration in a district that includes some of Silicon Valley’s major tech businesses.

To the 71-year-old Honda, the election was about his record of service for the 17th district, specifically his landing $900 million in federal funding for the planned 10-mile extension of BART from Fremont to East San Jose.

But Khanna countered that Honda’s list of achievements was sparse and the congressman had become out of touch on the issues.

Honda and Khanna finished first and second respectively in the June 3 primary, the Republican candidate a distant third, so under state rules both Democrats are running to represent the 17th — two Asian Americans in a majority Asian congressional district covering parts of southern Alameda County and northern Santa Clara County.

A graduate of San Jose State University who was incarcerated in an American concentration camp, Honda is a career politician and Khanna is a patent attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004 in another Bay Area district.

Honda was endorsed by political heavyweights such as President Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.

Khanna’s endorsers featured an impressive array of major Silicon Valley executives including Facebook chief operating executive Sheryl Sandberg, Google Inc. head Eric Schmidt, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and other business leaders from tech firms like Microsoft, Oracle and Yelp.

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