Honda-Khanna Race May Pivot On Immigration Reform

The irreplaceable Sacramento daily newsletter “The Nooner” and its author Scott Lay make some astute reads on the Dem-on-Dem race in the South Bay’s 17th Congressional District between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna. “And, anyone who thinks this is Swalwell v. Stark is mistaken.”

Lay says the biggest issue in the race will not be decided in 2014, but right now, with pending discussions in Washington on immigration reform.

I would be willing to bet that this race is not decided next year and not in CD17, but rather this year and right here in DC. One would be hard-pressed to find another district in the nation that has more at stake in immigration reform than CD17. Unlike most, this district wants immigration reform from both the ‘low end’ and the ‘high end.’ There are lots of voters in CD17 that have undocumented family members–Afghanis, Filipinos, Chinese, and Latino–while the technology industry desperately wants the ability to import more skilled workers.

If this is the case, the issue appears to favor Khanna, the Indo-American with ties to some of the biggest movers and shakers in Silicon Valley, as well, as the candidate most closely aligned with the region’s rich vein of talented South Asian engineers and tech workers. And, as Lay notes whichever way the issue leans is out of Honda’s hands. That’s the kind of uncertainty that can temporarily paralyze political campaigns.

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