Rep. Mike Honda claimed victory Friday over fellow Democrat Ro Khanna to retain his seat in the South Bay’s 17th Congressional District.
Honda led Khanna by more than 4,000 votes as of the last counting, growing from a 3,549-vote advantage on Election Day. The same-party contest was among a handful of too-close-to-call races across California. Khanna has not conceded the race, which drew heavy spending from the candidates and outside interests.
Khanna, a former Obama administration official in the U.S. Department of Commerce, said in an earlier message to supporters that when he started the campaign against the veteran San Jose congressman nearly two years ago, he was polling at just 3 percent. He anticipated that ballot counting would take several days to conclude.
“We’re sending a clear message that the honor of representing Silicon Valley is not an entitlement – it's something that needs to be earned,” Khanna said. “Regardless of the outcome, I’m so proud of what we built together. I hope you are, too.”
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In a note to supporters and a later speech, Honda on Friday called his lead “insurmountable” and indicated that his congressional career would not end at eight terms. Honda said the intraparty race “sent a message that the voters of this district value a lifetime of service to the community more than a lifetime of serving oneself.”
“Together, we sent a message that this election could not be bought by Super PACs and right-wing millionaires and billionaires,” he said. “My opponent’s donors wasted more than $5 million, through his campaign and super PAC, to try to replace my progressive voice with someone who would do their bidding. And although we were outspent 2 (to) 1, they were no match for the more than 10,000 people who funded my campaign.”
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago