Honda wins Dems endorsement; mysterious anti-Khanna flyer emerges

Rep. Mike Honda won the Democratic Party
endorsement Saturday night.

CADEM16 | CA17 | Rep. Mike Honda won the endorsement of the California Democratic Party with a clear majority of delegates at its conventioon Saturday night but not without controversy—an anti-Ro Khanna hit piece awaiting visitors to the caucus.

Those attending the endorsing caucus for the 17th Congressional District found a well-produced and likely expensive campaign flyer resting on each seat that accused Honda’s challenger, Democrat Ro Khanna, as being funded by Republican donors.

In addition, the identity of the group or groups that paid for the flyer is not listed on the piece. A union bug, however, is shown on the back of the piece. But, according to the Federal Elections Commission rules, the flyer may not be illegal.

Political committees are not required to disclose expenditures of less than $5,000. Based on the small batch of fliers seen at Saturday’s caucus, the printing costs could well be under the federal reporting threshold.

A mystery flyer portraying Ro Khanna as a 
puppet of the Republican Party was found 
on seats in the caucus room. 

The tri-fold flyer features Khanna portrayed as a puppet along with five circles cut out for the handler to place their fingers through. The headshots of Republicans of Ted Cruz, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and Marco Rubio are also included. “Ro’s Republican donors are paying for a puppet. Now you can pull his strings too,” said the piece.

Honda said he has never seen the flier before tonight and denied anybody from his campaign had distributed them. “We don’t know who put it out there. A lot of people can put it out there, right?” Honda said, following the caucus. “I didn’t have nothing to do with it and no one took claim of it, either.”

Michael Beckendorf, Honda’s campaign manager, also says he had never seen the flyer before the beginning of Saturday’s caucus. “Nobody from our staff produced that flier or handed it out,” he said.

Khanna slammed the presence of the hit piece during his opening remarks. “I come here and we’ve got this puppet on every seat, not having ‘paid for’ on it. I have a lot of respect for the congressman’s past service, but rules and laws matter,” said Khanna. “And when a campaign is being investigated for ethics issues you don’t hand out literature which doesn’t have ‘paid for’ on it.”

Somewhat overshadowed by the mysterious flier was Honda’s impressive victory Saturday night. Honda beat Khanna, 46-7, with two delegates voting for no endorsement. Under party rules, as the incumbent, Honda needed only 50 percent of the vote for victory.

With the endorsement phase of the 2016 congressional rematch in the rearview mirror, speculation over who is behind the offending literature and related rhetoric is likely to headline the next few weeks of this primary race.

Categories: CADEM16, convention, Democrats, mailer, Mike Honda, Republicans, Ro Khanna

5 replies

  1. I was at the convention today. Was inspired by the Vice President's speech. However, I was, to my great surprise, equally disgusted by the Honda campaigns' disingenuous, unethical and illegal tactics to smear Ro Khanna.

    I have been a loyal supporter of Congressman Honda's. I have contributed to him for many years and been a big fan of his life story and his social issue passions. However, I saw a clip of him mumble through his speech today and then I saw his campaigns (or supporters) hit pieces on Khanna. It finally made me realize that the teddy bear of man I used to love is gone and has been replaced by a bitter, vindictive, manipulative and desperate old man. I sit here, literally crying, at the change in my friend. Some of it, I blame his staff, but in the end, it's Mike's responsibility.

    I just went online and contributed to Ro Khanna. I was already torn because of the President's decision to drop his endorsement this week. However, Honda and his team's actions today pushed me over the line.

    What's sad is that I fully expect Honda to now call me a republican like he calls all of Khanna's donors. This madness needs to stop. I really hope Khanna wins in November. Perhaps in Honda's losing, he might find his soul again. Right now, I don't recognize my old friend. He has lost himself.

    Apologies for my rambling.


  2. This above comment sums up well the reaction to the hit piece. Thanks to the person who posted it.

    This hit piece follows the same pattern of Honda's campaign smear ads in to 2014. Those smear ads on television and in mailers from the Honda campaign contained outright lies about Khanna's positions.

    This is a quote from an article in the San Jose Mercury News published in October 29, 2016.

    “..Let's just get clear at the outset that congressional candidate Ro Khanna is firmly on the record opposing cuts in Social Security benefits for current or future seniors; supporting repatriation of offshore profits only if it's directly linked to creating jobs here; supporting a higher minimum wage; and supporting tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and raises taxes on the wealthiest income earners.

    On these and other issues, Khanna's positions are essentially the same as those of his opponent, seven-term, 73-year-old incumbent Mike Honda, despite what you hear from Honda's campaign and see on its televised 11th-hour smear ads.

    There is one difference between the two Democrats, however: Khanna will be more effective at carrying out the priorities… Khanna has attacked Honda on his record, sometimes with a little excess hyperbole, he has not outright lied about Honda's positions as nice-guy Honda has about Khanna's.”


  3. I certainly agree…if Khanna and Honda both take orders from Nancy Pelosi on how they vote…there is little difference, indeed. I will follow Paul Ryan unless he is not conservative enough, and then I will vote with the House Freedom Caucus. They get “things done.”


  4. Dear Dem from Feb 27 at 10:17 pm. … would be nice if you added your name so we can know who was can call a Republican.

    Also we can give you a tissue for your tears


  5. Most of the hit pieces in 2014 were from the overly ambitious Khanna. Khanna has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Silicon Valley firms who have brought in foreign workers and laid off Americans. These same firms have parked their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Khanna should be embarrassed. I'm telling all my friends to vote for Honda who is still very popular in the District and cares about America and American workers.


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