Ro Khanna, part of the Faithful.

CONGRESS//17TH DISTRICT | There’s a sports axiom often co-opted by business: if you want to be a champion, surround yourself with winners. Ro Khanna has enlisted a group of Super Bowl champions to his team as he bids to unseat Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District.

An email to supporters Tuesday morning highlights a fundraiser next week led by 49ers and Raiders Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Harris Barton and Dwight Clark. “I think it’s time for new leadership, and just like there came a time to pass the torch from Joe to Steve, and from Alex to Colin, now is the time to pass the torch from Mike to Ro,” said Lott.

However, while Joe Montana, Steve Young and Colin Kaepernick all led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, is there an implication Alex Smith, the only quarterback who did not, embodies by Honda?

Ronnie Lott

The Khanna campaign is obviously working the 49ers moving to Santa Clara next year angle here, but when it comes to his growing campaign finance advantage, Khanna is hardly the small-market underdog. In fact, he’s the New York Yankees in terms of financial muscle.


A Bay Area congressional candidate scoring a half million dollars in campaign contribution is usually a big deal, unless you are Khanna. The Democrat mounting an intraparty challenge against Honda added to his impressive fundraising totals with $509,000 in contributions during the last three-month reporting period, ending Sept. 30, according to finance reports.

The total is not as robust as his two previous filings, both of which topped the million mark, yet Khanna’s campaign reports $1.9 million in cash nearly a year before a sure general election matchup with Honda. By contrast, Honda, the long-time South Bay congressman reported $392,505 in contribution during the last filing period with $559,746 in the bank.

Despite the clear monetary advantage Khanna maintains over the incumbent, a look inside the numbers reveals an increasingly problematic situation for Honda. Last week, the Khanna campaign took pains to highlight under one-quarter, or $110,152, of Honda’s haul last period included contributions from political action committees. Khanna received none.

The imbalance more than suggest Honda, the establishment party candidate is struggling to attract fundraising outside the Beltway. Is Khanna attracting new money into the race or is Silicon Valley signaling Honda is an increasingly bad bet? Contributors plainly seek power when donating to a potential congress member. Of course, placing your bets on the wrong team renders the expenditure a big waste of money.

FUMBLE! The Bay Area News Group reported Tuesday that Khanna’s campaign inadvertently included Twitter followers (me, included) on its Web site as fundraisers. A snafu on the back end of the Web site was blamed for the error which transferred Khanna’s over 1, 060 follower’s information to create a dedicated fundraising page for each person. The campaign apologized, said the paper.