Ro Khanna takes down Honda in Silicon Valley rematch
© Courtesy photo/Greg Nash

Lawyer Ro Khanna (D) is projected to defeat longtime Rep. Mike Honda (D) in their rematch to represent California’s 17th Congressional District.

Khanna, 40, cast himself as a breath of fresh air for the district. He painted Honda, 75, as a poor representative and hammered him for facing an ongoing ethics investigation.

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“Ro is the new leadership that our district needs, no matter your party,” his campaign said on its website.

Honda faced difficulties in the race. President Obama declined to endorse him, even though he had given his support in 2014 — before the ethical questions emerged about Honda’s use of House money.

Khanna, a former Commerce Department staffer in the Obama administration, had the backing of many figures in Silicon Valley. His donors included Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and controversial libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel.

The two men last faced off in 2014, when Honda was victorious. California allows two candidates of the same party to run against one another in the general election.

Khanna won the primary battle between the two men by less than 2 percentage points, and the two headed for the general election.

The race was ugly on both sides.

Honda, for his part, sued Khanna, alleging that the challenger’s campaign manager had used his position as a former intern for a consultant working for Honda to illegally access data related to Honda’s donors.

The incumbent also attacked Khanna’s high-profile donors, saying in an ad that he was backed by “Wall Street billionaires and CEOs, even extreme Republicans.”