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Khanna Unseats Honda in California’s 17th District

All-Democratic race was a rematch from 2014

Ro Khanna also challenged fellow Democrat Mike Honda in 2014. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Ro Khanna also challenged fellow Democrat Mike Honda in 2014. (CQ Roll Call file photo)


Democrat Ro Khanna will defeat Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda in California’s 17th District, The Associated Press projects.

Khanna led Honda 58 percent to 41 percent, with 50 percent of precincts reporting.

Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Safe Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

[Top Races in 2016: The West]

The race pitted Democrats against each other due to California’s open primary where the top two contenders, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Khanna garnered 39 percent of the vote in June’s Democratic primary, compared to Honda’s 37 percent.

The 17th District is home to parts of Silicon Valley, including Apple, and is largely affluent and ethnically diverse. The district’s major industries include computing hardware, software and biotechnology.

The Honda-Khanna race was a rematch for the pair, who also faced off in 2014. Honda, then, fended off Khanna, winning re-election by roughly 3 percentage points. 

[Election Results 2016]

Honda’s 2016 re-election campaign was marred by an ongoing ethics investigation related to his 2014 campaign. The Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason” to believe Honda and his staffers used official resources to advance his campaign, and tied official events “to past or potential campaign or political support.”

[An Ethics Probe That Never Ends]

Khanna joins Illinois’ Raja Krishnamoorthi and Washington’s Pramila Jayapal as new incoming Indian-American members of the 115th Congress. He has ties to President Barack Obama and worked on Obama’s 1996 Illinois state Senate campaign. Some members of Obama’s re-election campaign also worked on Khanna’s race.

[’14 Losers Looking for Second Chance in ’16]

Khanna previously worked as a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and later worked for the Commerce Department under Obama. He plans to focus on economic ideas and promoting advanced manufacturing jobs to boost the middle class.

Contact Bowman at and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.

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