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Challenger Ro Khanna Concedes Hotly Contested Race to Rep. Mike Honda

All of the votes haven’t been counted, but lawyer concedes incumbent’s lead was insurmountable.

NBC Bay Area

Silicon Valley-backed lawyer Ro Khanna conceded to fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda on Friday night, acknowledging the 73-year-old lawmaker had an insurmountable lead in a race that gained national attention.

“I just called Congressman Honda to congratulate him on his victory,” Khanna said Friday night, as the Associated Press called the race in favor of Honda with about a three percentage point margin. “I wished him well as he returns to Washington for another term.”

Khanna’s concession marked another loss for some of Silicon Valley’s high profile political donors, who backed a plethora of losing candidates this year.

Honda, who will return to Congress for an eighth term, declared victory earlier in the day, even though thousands of votes hadn’t yet been counted. He represents the 17th congressional district, which includes South Bay and parts of Alameda County.

Democratic Rep. Mike Honda interviewed at his campaign headquarters earlier this year.
Democratic Rep. Mike Honda interviewed at his campaign headquarters earlier this year.

“We sent a message that this election could not be bought by right-wing millionaires and billionaires,” Honda said earlier in the day, surrounded by supporters.

Honda enjoyed support from labor unions, environmental groups and the Democratic establishment in the race, which cost roughly a combined $7.3 million. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama endorsed him while First Lady Michelle Obama recorded phone calls to help him reach likely voters.

Former Obama administration official Khanna, 38, relied instead on the financial support of Silicon Valley tech leaders, including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt, to give him an edge in the race.

Asked if voters might see Khanna challenge Honda again in two years, the former Commerce Department official laughed off the idea. “You’ll see me. I don’t know what I’ll be doing,” he told reporters.

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