Ro Khanna’s reported $800,000 in campaign finance
indicates donors are still bullish about his future.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | When congressional campaign finance reports are released next week, they will show former 17th District candidate Ro Khanna has raised more than $800,000 in contributions. The news confirms a report last week that also attributed the spike in fundraising—in the first quarter since the November 2014 election—to video of Rep. Mike Honda sleeping during a House floor session last February to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

According to a source, the considerable bump in checks to Khanna, indeed, coincided with the napping episode featured in a C-SPAN video clip that went viral. However, exactly what the incident means to individual donors is not know, but it more than hints that Khanna’s donors believe he is still a viable challenger to Honda after falling short in the general election last fall by less than four percent.

But, whether Khanna’s time is 2016 or 2018 is the question. It’s also still a remote possibility that Honda retires in the near future. On Wednesday, long-time California Rep. Lois Capps announced her retirement from Congress after 17 years. But, Honda who has served since 2001 and will be 74 in June, showed few ill-effects following a tough re-election campaign last year.

Honda also appears to harbor some antipathy toward Khanna, which clearly showed during a trash-talking victory speech delivered last November. Furthermore, in recent months, Honda’s congressional office has gone to great lengths to burnish his progressive credentials, highlighted by a popular tweet announcing support for his transgender grandchild. This gave the sense to some, Honda was attempting to stave off a potential shift by the moderate Khanna to the left, if the challenger were to run again next year.

The feeling that a Khanna campaign is looming due to phenomenal fundraising numbers has occurred twice before. Khanna pulled down $1.2 million in 2011 while he was contemplating a challenge to then-Rep. Pete Stark. He relented then, but in July 2013, Khanna gained national attention when he posted $1 million in campaign contributions in a single quarter for his run against Honda.