CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | RECAP | Ro Khanna needed to win this debate tonight. He succeeded in offering his well-honed vision for the 17th Congressional District. However, he probably needed a blowout to move the needle closer for at least a close race through the last 30 days of the campaign. He did not do that.

In fact, Rep. Mike Honda employed the exact prevent defense most believed he would use against Khanna. Honda likely scored the biggest line of the night at the most opportune time. After Khanna asserted Honda had lost the vigor and vision from early in his congressional career–a common refrain throughout this campaign by Khanna–moderator Raj Matthai then asked Honda, point-blank, whether he was “burnt out?”

Honda said he drives a Prius and added, “I’m not burned out. I have a lot of gas in the tank and I’m not even a hybrid.”

The sound bite will likely act as the lead-in for news stories and undercuts Khanna’s repeated platform criticizing Honda as losing a step.

Although, Khanna started slow, his confidence ramped up significantly with a question regarding campaign ethics allegations against Honda’s campaign. However, Khanna did not return to the increasingly hot-button issue later in the debate.

Khanna also made no bones about his willingness to work with House Republicans. In addition, he twice mentioned moderate Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell and often referenced the backing of the Bay Area News Group’s moderate to conservative editorial board being in his favor.

As it stands, Khanna has a month to make the argument for change in the 17th District. However, it’s the argument the campaign hasn’t been able to pin down for over a year.


7:46 Closing: KHANNA “is the american dream going to be alive for the next generation.” We have Congress that is broken.”
“These things wrerent supposed to be lifetime estates.” I ask us to join our campaign for change.”
Khanna with a very emotional closing.

HONDA Does not thank Khanna for attending debate.

7:43 Last Question: Congress’ low approval rating. HONDA says view is based on all parts of Congress–Dems and Rep. But most people think they’re rep is doing a good job. Polling actually suggests this odd phenomenon.

Honda says he used telephone, online town halls to move forward.

KHANNA says he’s knocked on 5,000 doors. “He has become part of the problem.” “People want to hit reset.”
“They want someone who is going to work as hard as they are.”

7:35 Khanna may be feeling like time is running out. His last response was like the end of a fireworks show when a barrage is lit and fired.

7:31 Are you burnt out? Matthai asks Khanna: “I’m not burned out. I have a lot of gas in the tank and I’m not even a hybrid.”

7:28 With about 30 minutes to go, time is running out for Khanna. He’s done well, but he still needs a knockout. Just running even with the incumbent is not good enough.

7:23 Khanna again says how much he admires Honda, but adds, “You’re handlers aren’t letting you do town halls. I’ve done more town halls than he in his last term.”
Great use by Khanna of portraying Honda has once great, but now less so.

7:20 Khanna says public schools are failing us. Want every kids in the district to have advantages he had.
Honda: Not every school is failing. Problem is 50 states with 50 different standards.

7:15 Tax inversions: Is it un-American? Honda says he’s against tax evasion, of course.
Khanna says companies HQ “I will stand up to any tech company that does that.”
When pressed. “I wish people knew my story more.” Innovators supports him, special interests support Honda, says Khanna.

7:12 Members of Congress are part of the 1%, says Khanna, with all the benefits they enjoy.
Honda giggles about 1% knock.

7;10 Forget Honda pinning Khanna as a non-progressive, Khanna seems willing to go there himself.

7:02 Minimum wage: HONDA help push to raise min wage in San Jose. Federal wage up to $10.10. Needs more to help young adults to pay for college.
Says forgive loans if students go into public service. Incentivize publc service

Khanna: supports min wage. Index it to inflation. “Can congress have the same standards as us,” says Khanna. Says Honda has missed 466 votes in his career. “People need someone who is present, engaged.”

Honda: I have 95% voting record. “I’ve gotten results.”

6:55 Ethics violations. “Are you an ethical congressman?” asks Matthai.
Honda calls it “a personnel matter.” My expectation goes above the legal minimum, he adds.
On his chief of statff: “She has apologized that this won’t happen again.”
Honda says the legal complaints need to move forward and he will cooperate.

Khanna “Nobody is perfect.” Not personal to Honda’s integrity. go to dysfunction in American politics.”
“It’s exactly what’s wrong with the political process.”
“I hope the congressman would apologize,” said Khanna

6:53 Khanna brings up Honda’s boast of money again for BART extension. “He’s relying on something that doesn’t exist–earmarks.” Khanna used the same line during the May 2014 forum.

6:50 Khanna attacks Honda’s lack of progress in passing bills in Congress. Notes nearby freshman Rep, Eric Swalwell has passed two bills this year. Rep. Anna Eshoo has seven.

6:46 Through three questions, Honda is holding serve so far.

6:43 3rd Question: To KHANNA Pell grants. Says he would increase Pell grants. “I’m still paying off student loans,” says Khanna. Have student interest rates that are same as the banks, he says. Push for more online courses to limit time in school and price.

HONDA “I did fight for Pell grant increases.”
Calls for change to bankruptcy laws for student loans.

6:40 2nd Question: To HONDA immigration reform. Current House-backed plan is working. “Not the bill he would have written,” said Honda, but still good.
First step: get it passed, legal citizenship for undocumented. calls for shorter path to citizenship for undocumented students. “They’ve done enough.

Khanna “I share the congressman’s values.” But, notes do-nothing Congress. “I would work with Republicans,” said Khanna. Do it piece-meal and “get something done.”

If you work with GOP on immigration, you’ll get nothing, asks panelist.

6:39 Honda running through bringing home federal money for BART extensions.
Honda, conversely, looks calm.

6:36pm First question from moderator Raj Matthai: To KHANNA How can you serve rich and poor in CA17. Khanna; “It’s the question of our times.”
Khanna looks nervous, but that’s expected. “Imagine if we had a new standard? Imagine if our elected officials were as hard working as the people in this district.”
Khanna says factories are high-tech and have changed. Even taxi driver needs to know programming.

6:31pm Note: tonight’s debate between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna is pre-empting Extra! and Access Hollywood and that’s a good thing.

6:30pm Tune in to tonight’s debate on KNTV, channel 11. Live tweeting starts now.