California's 17th Congressional District elections, 2014

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California's 17th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 3, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Mike Honda Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Mike Honda Democratic Party
Mike Honda.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Solid D[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Safe D[2]

California U.S. House Elections
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2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of California.png
The 17th Congressional District of California will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014.
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 7, 2014
June 3, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: California is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election.[3][4][5]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register by May 19, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 20, 2014 (the 15th calendar day before that election).[6]

See also: California elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Mike Honda (D), who was first elected in 2000.

California's 17th Congressional District is located in the western portion of the state and includes western Santa Clara County.[7]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Mike Honda Approveda
Democratic Party Ro Khanna

June 3, 2014, primary results

Democratic Party Mike Honda - Incumbent Approveda
Democratic Party Ro Khanna - Former U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary[8] Approveda
Republican Party Vanila Singh
Republican Party Joel Vanlandingham


Republican Party Vinesh Singh Rathore

Race background

Politico published a list in August 2013 of the five primaries to watch in 2014. California's 17th Congressional District was included on the list.[9]

Mike Honda (D) is regarded on Capitol Hill as a well-liked and congenial figure who coasts to victory every other year.[9]

Challenger Ro Khanna, who has taught at Stanford University and works at a Silicon Valley law firm, is tapping a vast network of tech donors to give Honda a surprisingly tough fight in 2014.[9] During the second quarter of 2013, the challenger raised over $1 million and reported having $1.7 million cash on hand — more than four times the amount Honda had.[9] Khanna went on to raise $504,450 in the third quarter and reported having $1.9 million on hand.[10] Khanna has built a formidable operation filled with veterans of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, including Jeremy Bird, Obama’s national field director in 2012, and David Binder, one of the president’s pollsters.[9]

Honda has President Barack Obama's endorsement — and the backing of Democratic power brokers such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel.[9] While Khanna is likely to draw support from Silicon Valley’s large Indian-American population, Honda enjoys long-standing ties to the Asian-American community, which makes up nearly half the district.[9]

The race is almost certain to extend beyond the June 3 primary.[9] Under California’s newly implemented “Top-Two” system, the top two finishers advance to the November general election, regardless of their party affiliation.[9]

Sham candidates

On March 24, 2014, a member of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee filed a lawsuit claiming that two Republican candidates in the race were sham candidates attempting to split the Republican vote, causing no Republican to advance to the general election. The lawsuit charged that Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore, two Republican candidates who filed at the last minute, were "sham" candidates attempting to take votes from Vanila Singh.[11]

Vinesh Singh Rathore was removed from the ballot on March 26, 2014, by a Superior Court in Sacramento on the grounds that he only collected 38 of the required 40 valid nominating signatures. Joel Vanlandingham remains on the ballot, because no legal reason was found to remove him.[12]


Campaign spending

On January 23, 2014, challenger Ro Khanna sent a letter to Mike Honda proposing that the candidates should take a pledge limiting spending in the race from outside groups and Super PACs. In response, Honda's campaign replied with a letter that raised the stakes, proposing a donation limit of $570.[13]

The letter stated, "We propose that all campaigns refund contributions to any donors who have already given more than this limit of $570. Your campaign can start by refunding the $11,000 in contributions from the five donors who have already requested a refund because Ro misled them. He had asked for their max-out contributions to run for an open seat, then used their money to run in a different district -- against Mike."[13]

The letter continued, "Then your campaign can continue by refunding contributions to Marc Leder (gave $5,200 to Ro) who hosted Mitt Romney for the fundraiser where he made his 47% remark, and Peter Thiel (gave $2,500 to Ro) who has given millions to the Club for Growth in order to elect far-right conservatives like Ted Cruz."[13]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[14] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[15] Mike Honda voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[16]

Voted "Yes" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[17] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. [[Mike Honda] voted for HR 2775.[18]


Mike Honda

Honda received the endorsement of the Democratic Party in a local vote on February 8, 2014.[19]

Honda also received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters.[20]


Mike Honda vs. Ro Khanna
Poll Mike Honda Ro KhannaUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling (August 2-4, 2013)
Democracy for America (February 13-16, 2014)
AVERAGES 55% 27% 18% +/-3.95 655.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Mike Honda

2012 video of Ro Khanna praising Mike Honda

Ro Khanna

Ro Khanna - My Promise

Ro Khanna - For Real

Campaign contributions

Mike Honda

Ro Khanna

Vanila Singh

**As of the 2014 Pre-Primary Report, Singh's committee owed $79,000 in outstanding loans to Vanila Singh.

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 6, 2012, Mike Honda (D) won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Evelyn Li in the general election.

U.S. House, California District 17 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMike Honda Incumbent 73.5% 159,392
     Republican Evelyn Li 26.5% 57,336
Total Votes 216,728
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


On November 2, 2010, Sam Farr won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Jeff Taylor (R), Eric Petersen (G), Mary Larkin (L) and Ronald Kabat (Write-in) in the general election.[40]

U.S. House, California District 17 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSam Farr incumbent 66.7% 118,734
     Republican Jeff Taylor 29.9% 53,176
     Green Eric Petersen 1.9% 3,397
     Libertarian Mary Larkin 1.5% 2,742
     Write-in Ronald Kabat 0.1% 90
Total Votes 178,139

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR June 26, 2014," accessed July 28, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed July 28, 2014
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  4. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  5. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  6. California Secretary of State Website, "Voter Registration," accessed January 3, 2014
  7. California Redistricting Map, "Map," accessed September 25, 2012
  8. The San Francisco Chronicle," "Rep Honda to face Ro Khanna challenge," April 2, 2013 (dead link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Politico, "5 House primaries to watch," accessed August 8, 2013
  10. Politico, "Ro Khanna raises $500K in bid against Mike Honda," October 8, 2013
  11. Ballot Access News, "California Republican Party Official Files Lawsuit, Asserting that Two Republican Congressional Candidates are “Sham” Candidates and Should be Removed from Ballot," March 27, 2014
  12. Ballot Access News, "One So-Called “Sham” Republican is Removed from California Primary Ballot," March 27, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Letter from Ro Khanna to Congressman Mike Honda, January 23, 2014
  14. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  15. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  16. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. Campaign website, "Rep. Mike Honda Receives 92% of Votes from CA-17 Democrats for State Party Endorsement of Re-Election Campaign," February 10, 2014
  20. League of Conservation Voters, "LCV Action Fund endorses Congressman Mike Honda for re-election," March 6, 2014
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda April Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  23. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda October Quarterly," accessed October 21, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda Year-End," accessed February 4, 2014
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda Pre-Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Mike Honda October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna April Quarterly," accessed February 10, 2014
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna July Quarterly," accessed February 10, 2014
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna October Quarterly," accessed February 10, 2014
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna Year-End," accessed February 10, 2014
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna April Quarterly," accessed May 5, 2014
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna Pre-Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna July Quarterly," accessed July 28, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Ro Khanna October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Vanila Singh Year-End," accessed February 10, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Vanila Singh April Quarterly," accessed May 5, 2014
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Vanila Singh Pre-Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  40. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013