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State Democrats run TV ad for Rep. Mike Honda, facing same-party fight

State Democrats run TV ad for Rep. Mike Honda, facing same-party fight
The California Democratic Party is running a TV ad for Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose, left, shown here in a candidates forum in May with challenger Ro Khanna, also a Democrat. (Jim Gensheimer / Associated Press)

The California Democratic Party has begun running a TV ad supporting Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), who is facing an aggressive challenge from a fellow Democrat.

The 30-second spot, which started airing Monday on stations across the Bay Area district, avoids attacking Ro Khanna, a former U.S. Commerce Department official who has run a largely negative campaign against Honda.

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It is the same spot that the Honda campaign ran last week. The party will keep the ad up for the rest of this week, according to spokesman Tenoch Flores.

"Our country needs more leaders like Mike Honda, who works hard, behind the scenes if necessary, and delivers results for his constituents and our country," state party Chairman John Burton says in the ad.

The race has been roiled recently with revelations by a local online news outlet, which was provided internal emails by a former Honda staffer that indicated his congressional chief of staff and a then-campaign worker had illegally coordinated activities.

Honda's congressional spokesman denied improper activity; two local elected officials, both Khanna supporters, filed a complaint with the committee overseeing House ethics matters.

The Honda-Khanna race is one of a handful of same-party fall contests made possible by California's relatively new primary election system. Only the first-and second-place finishers in the June primary can advance to the fall general election.

Other same-party House races in the state involve Republican fights. In the race to succeed retiring Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) pits state Sen. Stephen Knight of Palmdale against former state legislator Tony Strickland.

In Northern California, Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove faces an underfinanced challenge from military veteran Art Moore, whose endorsements include that of former Gov. Pete Wilson.

Follow @jeanmerl for the latest in Southern California politics news.

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