Top Silicon Valley GOP leaders didn’t hold back criticism of a former Bay Area Democrat’s attempts to keep control of the House — after losing his seat three years ago.
Former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, who lost his seat to Democrat Ro Khanna in 2016, earlier this year launched a new political action committee, the Hold the House PAC, to bankroll efforts to keep House Democrats in their seats through the next election cycle.
“The former Congressman certainly has a reputation as a prodigious fundraiser,” said Shane Patrick Connolly, the Santa Clara County GOP chair, who also noted Honda’s fundraising got him in trouble with the House’s ethics committee a few years ago.
“Now that he’s out of Congress,” Connolly continued, “it makes it a little easier for him to raise funds without him getting in trouble.”
But Honda said this isn’t about the past — or low blows from Republicans — it’s about keeping the chamber blue in 2020.
“In 2020, we cannot lose sight of the importance that Congress will play in the next administration,” Honda said in a statement. “A Democratic president needs a productive partner in Congress to restore the rule of law, protect our environment, and help working class families. Simply put we must protect our gains and not lose focus.”
This isn’t Honda’s first time working behind the scenes to protect vulnerable Democrats.
During the 2018 midterm elections, Honda chaired the Red to Blue PAC that helped Democrats make political gains and win more seats in Congress. Now, with 46 of the House’s California Representatives being Democrats, and just seven Republicans, Honda and the Hold the House PAC aims to maintain the Golden State’s Democratic stronghold.
“We built this movement of basically over 500,000 folks to help flip the House. Now we’re focusing on a new mission, which is keeping it,” said Vince Rocha, a consultant for Honda and principal at Silicon Valley-based political consulting firm, Movement Strategies. “I do know that the presidential race will be very important for many people, however, we believe our specialty is focusing on ensuring the House stays Democratic.”