Khanna concession closes bitter campaign

Challenger Ro Khanna called incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Honda Friday¬†evening to concede the race for California‘s 17th Congressional District.

Khanna’s concession follows a statement by Honda this morning declaring himself the race’s winner after gaining “an insurmountable lead” of more than 4,000 votes.

Absentee ballots are still being counted in Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Khanna said he was struck during the campaign by the “passion” seen by supporters on both sides and by the “fundamentally fair, open-minded and decent” nature of the voters in the district. “I respect their judgment and decision,” Khanna said.

During the sometimes-bitter general election campaign between Democrats Honda and Khanna, Honda accused Khanna of accepting donations from several wealthy conservative Republicans.

Honda, during a news conference at his campaign office in Newark this morning, lobbed some pointed parting shots at his opponent:

“Together, we sent a message that this election could not be bought by Super PACs and right-wing millionaires and billionaires. …¬†My opponent’s donors wasted more than $5 million, through his campaign and Super PAC, to try to replace my progressive voice with someone who would do their bidding.”

Khanna countered that Honda made exaggerated claims about a handful of donors and said that Honda was inarticulate about the top issues and out of touch with voters in the 17th District.

Santa Clara County elections officials show Honda leading with more than 52 percent of the vote as of today with all precincts reporting, while in Alameda County he led by a slimmer margin with just over 50 percent of the vote.