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Challenger Spends $2.6 Million to Unseat Fellow Democrat

California congressional contender Ro Khanna has already spent more than $2.6 million in his challenge to Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda, according to a pre-primary report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.  

The Democrat’s spending ahead of the June 3 top-two primary left him with just more than $1 million in cash on hand for the general. In California, the two top vote recipients advance to the general regardless of party, and Honda and Khanna are both expected to move on in the 17th District.  

Khanna’s spending is more than double the $1.1 million Honda spent for the election cycle to date, according to reports filed with the FEC . Honda slightly outraised Khanna in the April 1 to May 14 pre-primary period, as Honda raised $182,000 and Khanna brought in $141,000.  

Honda has a little more than $1 million in cash on hand as of mid-May.  

The race has heated up in recent weeks. Both campaigns have kicked off attacks on TV and in the mail, while the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News have endorsed Khanna.  

The spending and newspaper endorsements landed Honda on Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable members of the House .  

Khanna’s campaign also recently filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics charging that Honda misused his franked mail privileges given to sitting Members of Congress. Khanna filed a similar complaint in his 2004 primary challenge to Rep. Tom Lantos.  

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan noted that all franked mail must be “approved by the the bipartisan Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards” and called the complaint “a desperate and unoriginal political ploy to distract from their inability to gain traction with voters two weeks before the primary, despite spending millions of dollars.”  

California’s 17th District is rated a Safe Democratic contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.