Candidate Ro Khanna: 2 Million Dollar Man

Ro Khanna, center, seen kicking off his congressional campaign at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif. (Christine Fang photo via Facebook) Read more at

Ro Khanna, center, seen kicking off his congressional campaign at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif. (Christine Fang photo via Facebook)

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna announced July 9 he had raised $1 million in three months in his bid to gain California’s 17th district House seat.

Democratic incumbent Mike Honda’s re-election campaign simultaneously released a report July 9, stating that the incumbent has the support of 100 local Silicon Valley leaders, including most of the mayors of cities in District 17, and several Santa Clara county supervisors. Honda also has been endorsed by San Jose, Calif. city councilman Ash Kalra and Dublin, Calif., city councilman Abe Gupta.

The Honda campaign released a statement July 10 stating that the incumbent, who has served the district for 13 years, has reportedly raised $559,000 from 1,100 donors as of June 30. Honda has not yet filed his Federal Elections Commission report for quarter two, but Dan Cohen, a spokesman for the campaign, told India-West the report would be filed before the FEC’s July 15th deadline. Cohen noted that more than half of Honda’s donors made contributions of less than $100, exemplifying Honda’s grassroots appeal.

Khanna’s campaign made its FEC filing available to India-West the day before it was filed July 10. The report summates that Khanna has raised over $2 million in this election cycle and currently has $1.7 million on hand in his bid to out-seat fellow Democrat Honda.

District 17 is comprised of portions of the Silicon Valley and Fremont.
“I am honored by the support which shows that our message is resonating across many voters in District 17,” Khanna told India-West. “Voters are demanding change,” the Indian American Democrat said.
In the FEC reporting quarter beginning Apr. 1 and ending June 30, Khanna received $1.0344 million from 681 individual donors. Overall, 1,495 people have donated to Khanna’s campaign. There were no contributions from PACs or special interest groups.
Khanna, 36, who formerly served in the Commerce Department during President Barack Obama’s first term, has pitched himself as a candidate who will aggressively champion the interests of Silicon Valley in a global economy. In an interview with India-West before he launched his campaign, Khanna said: “Congress has simply not focused on an economic growth agenda or supporting entrepreneurs. We need to have the right tax and trade policies that will encourage companies to stay in the United States and invest here.”

Khanna’s Quarter 2 FEC report reflects his support from the Valley’s investment and technology community. High profile names in this quarter’s report include billionaire philanthropist Gururaj Deshpande; former Citigroup senior vice chairman Victor Menezes, who, in retirement, serves as a senior adviser to New Silk Route, an investment firm with interests primarily in Asia; Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff; Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer; and billionaire Napster co-founder Sean Parker – Khanna attended his recent $10 million wedding, according to Time magazine.


Michael McCue, CEO of Flipboard; Ben Golub of Dot Cloud; and Dave Goldberg of Survey Monkey are among the entrepreneurs listed as Khanna supporters.

A press statement from Khanna’s campaign noted that more than a fourth of Honda’s 2013 contributions came from PACs and special interest groups and half his itemized funds have come from outside the state.

Khanna’s campaign stated that 91 percent of donations came from donors residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. All fundraising events – about 25 – were held in Northern California and manned by volunteers, reflecting Khanna’s stated vision of a grassroots campaign, said a source close to the campaign.

“As someone who grew up in a strong middle-class family and who is still working to pay off my student loans, I am honored to have the support of so many hard-working individuals here in California,” said Khanna, who is of counsel at the law firm Wilson Sonsoni Goodrich and Rosati, and also teaches at Stanford and Santa Clara University.

“What’s clear from the early support I’ve received is that Bay Area voters are frustrated with Congress – and they agree we need to bring Silicon Valley thinking to Washington,” he said.