President Obama, Rep. Mike Honda
CONGRESS 17 | If Rep. Eric Swalwell’s defeat of Pete Stark has any lasting effects, it is within the realm of making similarly older representatives in the Bay Area caucus, like Rep. Mike Honda, worried they could be next.
Honda, according to insiders in the South Bay, is one of those hoping he isn’t the, so-called, next Stark, who sticks around one election cycle too long before being overrun by a more ambitious challenger in their 30s.
Honda’s worry appears to have manifested itself Monday with President Obama’s endorsement of his candidacy in 2014. If you may recall, Honda just won re-election last November, but the help of the president and, by extension, the party establishment, so early in the game is a clear signal he is deathly worried about the possibility of Ro Khanna running for his seat in the 17th Congressional District.
“Congressman Mike Honda is the right leader for the 17th district,” Obama said, while adding, “We need Congressman Mike Honda in the United States Congress, and I urge you to vote to keep him there.”
The upshot of the announcement, undoubtedly, is for Honda to accentuate the storyline of Khanna, a former Obama appointee to the Commerce Department, being passed over for support of the 71-year-old Honda. However, much of this story needs to be read between the lines.
Last week, the Democratic National Committee jettisoned Honda as its vice chair in favor of the youngest member of Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). She is the same freshman lawmaker, who follows, in the vein of Swalwellian over ambitiousness, applied for the appointment to Sen. Daniel Inouye’s U.S. Senate seat following his passing last month–just three days before she was even sworn-in for her first term in Congress.
In addition, there is common agreement Honda is one of the most gracious members of the Bay Area congressional caucus, so it is no surprise he was given various escape routes to other jobs in government allowing him to save face, rather than potentially face Khanna and his strong ties in Silicon Valley and, most importantly, his $1 million-and-counting war chest.
Apparently, a seat, say on the Federal Election Committee or a continuing role in education, is of no interest to Honda. Enter the president.