Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 18, 2014

Jerry Brown Backs Mike Honda in Democratic Duel

Jerry Brown Backs Mike Honda in Democratic Duel

Honda won the backing of California Gov. Jerry Brown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California Gov. Jerry Brown has stepped in to one of the most competitive and aggressive Democratic races of the cycle.

Brown, who is expected to cruise to re-election in November, endorsed Rep. Michael M. Honda on Tuesday, praising the seven-term, Golden State Democrat’s support for the San Francisco Bay Area’s commuter rail system.

Honda faces a fierce challenge from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna in the Silicon Valley-based 17th District, where both advanced from the June top-two primary.

“Mike Honda has dedicated his career to tackling difficult issues and doing what’s right for working people,” Brown said in a release. “After leading the local effort to bring BART to San Jose, Mike got $900 million in federal funding for the project creating 10,000 jobs for the Silicon Valley. Mike is an effective advocate in Congress for his district and all of California — I’m proud to support him.”

In the primary, Honda, who also has the backing of President Barack Obama, took 49 percent to 27 percent for Khanna, an attorney whose campaign is run by former Obama campaign staffers.

Khanna has raked in millions for his bid, with support from Silicon Valley leaders such as Google’s Eric Schmidt, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, among others.

But after spending millions in the primary, Khanna started the general election campaign trailing Honda in cash on hand by more than $200,000 as of June 30. Facing a cash disparity, Khanna’s campaign turned up the heat on Honda in August, pushing the seven-term incumbent to agree to debates and attacking Honda’s productivity in the House.

Brown’s endorsement comes days after Khanna organized a rally outside Honda’s district office with constituents who say they were ignored by Honda’s staff.

With two Democrats on the ballot, the race is rated Safe Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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