As I have blogged previous, one of the closest watched Congressional races for this November 2014 will be for California’s 17th Congressional District, where two Democrats, incumbent Congressman Mike Honda and newcomer Ro Khanna are running (whom I had interviewed last year). Khanna has impressively been a fundraising machine, and has been aggressively running hard – which he should – raising a total of $3.2 million with $2 million on hand as of Q4 of 2013. Feeling some heat, Honda had recently highlighted support by famed ‘Star Trek’ actor and activist, George Takei, in a fundraising email:
“I want to make sure you saw this message from my friend George Takei, who I’ve known since my days as a County Supervisor. In that time, George has used his popularity as a powerful platform to advocate for equality, including last month’s successful campaign to defeat a “turn away gays” law in Arizona. His advocacy and courage is one reason that I am so proud to have his support. At last night’s fundraiser, George spoke about our shared childhood experience in internment camps, behind barbed wire fences, because of our Japanese-American ancestry. He also spoke about how for much of his life he faced a different kind of barbed wire fence: discriminatory laws with sharp barbs of prejudice and ignorance. I’ve spent my life fighting against these fences, and I need your help to continue this work.”
I had the great pleasure of being invited and attending that fundraiser in San Francisco to meet George Takei and his husband Brad.
It was really interesting to see Takei talk about his deep respect and support for Honda. Takei did mention about Honda’s opponent, including the Republican candidate, who supposedly has a lot of money from conservative backers, and a reference to Khanna, “However the opposite is true with him, he has a lot of money, but absoluted no experience in elected public service.” Takei went on to say that unfortunately money can play a big role in elections, but ultimately it is the voter who decides who will be elected.
In the most recent polling I had read back in February, (maybe there have been newer ones), Honda was still leading by a good margin:
“Honda leads Khanna by 45 percent to 26 percent in the all-party race, with Republican Vanila Singh leading Khanna with 29 percent support, according to the automated survey by Public Policy Polling. The poll was conducted for the liberal group Democracy for America, an organization founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) that is backing Honda in the race. The poll’s numbers, combined with California’s unusual primary system, paint a muddy picture of a race that’s grown more complicated with Singh’s recent entrance. The top two vote-getters in California’s all-party “jungle primary” advance to the general election. The San Jose-area district is heavily Democratic — President Obama took 72 percent there in 2012 — but the quarter of the population that are Republican may hold outsized sway in determining this race’s winner.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Honda continues to use Takei as a “celebrity” endorser or also adds other prominent Asian Americans to help support his re-election campaign.