to U.S. House gives Campbell’s seat to Dems
Partying to the tunes of “Who Let the Dogs Out,” supporters of Californian Democrat Mike Honda gathered at his campaign headquarters to celebrate his victory over Republican Jim Cunneen for the 15th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“These are the only words I can think of. Thank you . . . ,” Honda said. “We created a campaign from labor, grass roots; this campaign was really at the grass roots level. All of us campaigned with our heart and soul.”
Both Cunneen and Honda campaigned on a moderate platform. Both proclaimed themselves to be pro-choice, pro-environment and pro-gun control. However, Cunneen believes in partially privatizing Social Security, which Honda opposes.
The race has been tight and contentious, with both sides accusing each other of dirty campaign tactics. The National Republican Congressional Committee came out with an ad titled “Mike Honda’s Criminal Record” with a photo of Honda that resembled that of a mug shot.
Cunneen has disavowed the ad, saying his campaign w3as not directly responsible for it.
Honda came out with television commercials saying Cunneen will be an ally of the National Rifle Association and the anti-abortion lobby.
But Cunneen’s campaign manager, Terry Miller, said that Cunneen is in fact pro-choice and pro-gun control.
He added, “There’s even a pro-life group who is encouraging voters to vote for a write-in candidate instead of Cunneen.”
Senior Krista Glaser, chair of the Stanford Democrats, disagreed.
“The point about Cunneen is that he’s a Republican,” she said. “If he [was] elected, we [would] have had a Republican Congress. A woman’s right to choose is in peril.”
Ann Chen, a senior at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, said at the victory party that it was a positive sign that with Honda’s win, there will likely be six Asian-American members of Congress.
“This is very important because there’s an increasing amount of Asian Americans in the Bay Area, so we need more voice in government,” she said.
Honda was also aware of his possible role in Washington as an Asian-American.
“Being Asian-American, it’s my desire to stand up to speak when we’re scapegoated,” Honda said, citing the case of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. Lee was detained and accused of espionage and leaking the nation’s nuclear secrets. He agreed to a plea bargain in which he admitted to one relatively minor charge.
When asked to reflect on his own personal growth during the campaign, Honda stated, “I got a deeper appreciation and respect for individuals’ ability to understand the political process.”
He added that even common people are full of talent and capable of making a difference.
Mike Mongan, a senior, was at Honda’s celebration. He had been working on Honda’s campaign since April and interned at Honda’s office this summer.
He said that much of the campaign work, such as working the phone banks and licking envelopes, was not glamorous. But he enjoyed that “this is the most important race in the Bay Area; the Democrats getting control of the House is real important.”