Silicon Valley House race ‘unlike any other’
Democratic political strategist Jeremy Bird -- the national field director for President Obama's 2012 campaign and now a strategist for Silicon Valley House candidate Ro Khanna -- says the South Bay congressional race is "unlike any other" in the country, because it showcases demographic and technological shifts in American politics.
"This district is the future of our country," Bird told 125 people who packed the opening this week of Khanna's second field office, in Cupertino -- just a stone's throw from Apple headquarters.
Khanna's campaign isn't alone in ramping up efforts in 17th Congressional District field offices.
With more than half of California voters expected to cast mail ballots starting May 3 for the June primary, candidates are busy vying for voters and getting their message out.
Example: Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, the seven-term incumbent whom Khanna is trying to unseat, says he'll be campaigning Friday at his field office at 2302 Zanker Road in San Jose with Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.
Duckworth, a longtime Honda supporter and friend, will be participating in a roundtable with local veterans and Honda before they kick off a phone bank with campaign volunteers. (Honda has also been endorsed by Obama, Bird's former candidate and boss.)
Honda will also visit The Chronicle editorial board Sunday afternoon. (Chronicle editorial board director John Diaz says it's the first Sunday editorial board session in his 18 years on the job.)
Republican candidate Vanila Singh has announced she'll be opening her campaign office Saturday at 10 a.m. at 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd., Suite 215, in Milpitas. Singh has also agreed to come to The Chronicle editorial board Wednesday.
Khanna's strategist Bird, speaking at the opening of the Cupertino office, said his candidate has adopted some of the lessons of the Obama presidential campaigns and translated them to the tech-savvy, highly diverse district. That campaign used technology to identify voters who could be swung to Khanna and reach them right at their front door.
"There might not be another candidate for Congress in the country who has knocked on more doors," an estimated 3,000, Bird said. It's part of an effort to reach by-mail voters and "put the election away before it ever gets to Election Day," Bird said.
He motioned around at the office packed with volunteers and field workers like Malka Kausar, 17, a junior at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, who said this was her first involvement in politics. "This campaign isn't just about Ro Khanna," she said. "This campaign is about me."
Khanna himself, addressing the crowd, said he wanted Silicon Valley to "send a signal" to the country with the election.
"There is something in Silicon Valley that can get people to believe again," he said. "This district is a lever where we can really shape a vision to lead a 21st century global economy. Let's do it from the heart of innovation -- Cupertino."
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