Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna

CONGRESS | DISTRICT 17 | The congressional race in the South Bay’s Seventeenth District is setting itself up to be a rehash from two years ago of faux political controversies involving Democrats Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna.

The latest is a year-end fundraising email from Honda’s campaign to supporters that suggested links between Republican presidential firebrand Donald Trump and Khanna, a moderate Democrat who fell less than four points of defeating the incumbent in 2014.

The email sent Dec. 30 attempts to position Honda as the race’s clear choice of the left. Honda, however, is already known as one of the most liberal members of Congress, and such solicitations are typically made to a candidate’s loyal base.

Donald Trump’s political shadow is so large
it’s even hovering over the South Bay race.

“Honda has spent his career fighting for justice and equality in Washington — and the Republicans can’t stand it,” wrote the campaign. “That’s why they’re aligning themselves, again, with our opponent, Ro Khanna, in attacking one of the nation’s leading progressive champions. It’s shameful — and we can’t let Donald Trump’s Republican Party get away with.”

Honda’s appeal for campaign contributions led Khanna’s campaign to seize on the connection to Trump a day later, along with their own plea for donations. Khanna’s message also made it clear that he is, indeed, a Democrat, and one who was appointed by President Obama to the Department of Commerce. “I now am convinced that there is nothing Mike Honda will not do to hold on to political office,” Khanna said in the email letter. “Mike Honda actually had the gall to imply that Donald Trump’s supporters were behind my candidacy.”

Ron Cohen, the only actual Republican in the race thus far told the East Bay Citizen, that he doubts Trump “would even acknowledge the existence” of Honda and Khanna. Cohen, a Fremont certified public account that has never run for elected office, however, was critical of Honda for mischaracterizing Khanna’s political ideology.

“Whether Mr. Honda’s comments demonstrate a fact-based reality and civility that we should expect in the highly intelligent 17th District is a question for the voters to consider,” said Cohen. “I view Mr. Honda’s comments with some sadness for the tone of this race, so early, and during the holidays.”

He then jokingly pledged not to link Honda to Hillary Clinton for the sake of raising money.