CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | Congressional challenger Ro Khanna is challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda to a series of four monthly pre-primary debates.

Khanna’s campaign says the potential debates have drawn the interest of the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX, and NBC Bay Area. In addition, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch have also expressed interest in additional public forums between the candidates.

“Residents of the 17th district will benefit from an ongoing discussion, moderated by the local media, about who is the best candidate to address the unique challenges and opportunities facing our community,” said Khanna in a press release early Wednesday morning. “It’s one way to start restoring public confidence in Congress, which is at an all-time low.”

Honda’s campaign told the San Jose Mercury News political beat writer, they are not ready to make a decision about debates, just yet.

A candidate coming across as non-committal on the debates issue has echoes in the 2012 congressional race between Pete Stark and Eric Swalwell. Following a closer-than-expected primary challenge, Swalwell challenged Stark to a series of fall debates.

Already spooked by a widely-panned candidate’s forum early in the year when Stark accused his opponent of bribery, Stark’s handlers were wary of unleashing the congressman in a similar setting. Stark’s reluctance to debate led Swalwell to skewer him with the distribution rubber ducks at every campaign appearance.