Political race in the South Bay heats up ahead of June election

The South Bay political race between 14-year Congressman Mike Honda and an incumbent is heating up ahead of the June election.
March 28, 2014 6:33:52 PM PDT
A political race in the South Bay is already heating up even though voters don't go to the polls until June.

Fourteen-year Congressman Mike Honda is the incumbent. And in a district that has an Asian majority, the two democrats are both Asian-Americans.

This is going to be a very high profile race, and the first political ad for this race surfaced earlier this week. The Ro Khanna campaign already received financial support from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Mike Honda has already received the support from President Barack Obama.

With Congress suffering from low public ratings, you wonder why anyone would want to run for a house seat. Democratic challenger Khanna, a Fremont resident, explains his motivation.

"The Congress right now is dysfunctional and we need change and we need folks who are going to lead and get something done," Khanna said.

Seven-term incumbent democrat Mike Honda, a San Jose resident, gives his reason.

"I've got a lot of things to do," he said. "A lot of things to finish."

What's intriguing about this race is that both democratic candidates are Asian-Americans seeking to represent the first Asian majority congressional district in the country.

And in this district, stretching from Santa Clara on the west side of the bay to Fremont on the east side, Honda and Khanna both recognize economic and education issues are what resonate with voters. It shapes their agendas.

"Immigration reform, minimum wage, jobs, the economy, encouraging manufacturing to stay here, build their stuff here is all about a robust economy, and that's what I want to see happen in this district," Honda said.

"I've called for teaching coding in the classroom and making that mandatory, and that's a new idea," Khanna said. "I've called for a women in workplace agenda and figuring out how we get more women in science and technology."

However, San Jose State political science professor Melinda Jackson thinks there's another dimension to this 17th Congressional District race.

"We might see this shape up to be more of a generational divide with really the issue of the long-term incumbent who's now in his 70's against the young, up-and-coming young Democratic challenger who's in his 30's," Jackson said.

Khanna and Honda are both champions of technology.


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