Whispers of Rep. Mike Honda’s potential demise next year is growing louder

Rep, Mike Honda in Newark at the end of the 
2014 campaign in the Seventeenth District.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | An old hand in the Alameda County Democratic Party asked me a question the other that I’ve heard with some frequency lately. “Do you think Khanna has a chance next year?” I typically feign ignorance just so I can force the questioner to share their own opinion first. “I don’t know? Maybe. What do you think?”

This particular questioner did what others have done in recent weeks. They uttered an initial giggle, followed by a knowing, but sheepish grin. Some take a secretive step towards me and lower their voice as if Rep. Mike Honda might be listening around the corner. “I think Khanna has a real good shot,” said the party apparatchik.

You never heard that last year unless it came from someone drawing a paycheck from Khanna’s campaign. But the sentiment appears to be growing. I’ve heard variations of Honda’s potential demise in next year’s rematch in the Seventeenth Congressional District from differing levels of local government. If anything, very little of what Honda is doing this year is sowing much confidence in local Democrats about his chances.

Whereas, at this time two years ago, Honda was seen as a great bet to win re-election, although, few discounted Khanna’s campaign war chest. The conventional wisdom then was correct, Khanna would mount a strong campaign and force Honda into the full-fledged re-election campaign that he had never before endured.

It’s far different this time around. Khanna fell just under four points short last November and then Honda infamously fell asleep in Congress earlier this year, as in, he literally fell asleep. That incident may pale in comparison to growing whispers in the local party that an ethics investigation into Honda’s commingling of his campaign and congressional offices will likely persist through the June primary and likely rematch in November 2016. This appears to be the game=changing aspect that has many flirting with the idea Khanna can beat Honda.

As one player in the party told me about the potential ethics violation, “No matter how it turns out, it’s going to hurt Honda.”