Rep. Honda’s challenger raises $1 million in one quarter

Democrat Ro Khanna, a former Commerce Department official who is challenging Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in 2014, will announce Wednesday that he raised more than $1 million in the second quarter.

The total is nearly unheard of for a House candidate, much less a non-incumbent in a non-election year, and serves notice that Honda will face an extremely well-funded opponent next year.

House incumbents rarely crack seven figures even on the eve of an election, and Khanna's campaign says he is the first House challenger to do so in his first full quarter of fundraising -- without self-funding. Khanna's campaign also says the total includes no funds raised from lobbyists or political action committees, and more than 90 percent of it was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's actually not even Khanna's personal fundraising record, though. He raised $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 as he was weighing a run for Congress for a prospective open seat. When then-Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) opted to run for reelection in the newly redrawn 13th district, Khanna opted not to challenge him.

This cycle, Khanna is challenging Honda in the neighboring 14th district. And he has signed up a top-flight team of consultants -- many of them veterans of President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. They include Obama national field director Jeremy Bird and David Axelrod's old media firm, AKPD.

The young technology lawyer served as assistant deputy commerce secretary from 2009 to 2011.

Honda, meanwhile, has been endorsed by Obama and top Democrats.

The two will face off in the state's "top-two" primary system, in which the top two candidates advance to the general election regardless of party.

For more on the race and Khanna, check out Joshua Green's story at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · July 10, 2013