Silicon Valley Congressman Gets Support From Democracy for America

His challenger, however, is backed by Silicon Valley bigwigs

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Michael Honda
Charles Dharapak / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rep. Michael Honda

Updated at 2:13 p.m. 

Left-leaning political action committee Democracy for America is endorsing its first Congressional candidate for the 2014 election cycle, Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.). At stake is California’s 17th District, home to the Silicon Valley technology companies that are hoping to use this election to gain an ally within Congress that will push their agenda.

The endorsement from the PAC founded by former governor of Vermont Howard Dean continues the trend of Democratic establishment support of the 12-year incumbent, who also has endorsements from President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif).

“At DFA, we support Democrats with backbone, who lead with vision and who fight for core Democratic values,” Dean wrote. “We’re working to elect not just any Democrat, but better Democrats. I’ve known Mike for years — he’s one of the strongest progressives we have in Congress.”

Honda’s challenger, fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, is a Silicon Valley lawyer who has repeatedly out-fundraised Honda and boasts the support of  Silicon Valley bigwigs such as former Facebook president Sean Parker and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. He’s hoping the innovation-friendly platform he’s running on will help him unseat Honda, a 71-year-old former school principal. “What has been missing has been Silicon Valley being a thought leader,” Khanna told TIME in a June 2013 interview.

Update: Tyler Law, the Press Secretary for Ro Khanna for Congress sent the following statement in response to the endorsement to TIME via email. “Ro has always stood by his progressive values and he will continue to run a campaign on his positive vision for growing the economy, investing in education, and making government more responsive to the people,” Law said. “Congressman Honda should take this opportunity to break the status quo in Washington and embrace Ro’s bold reform agenda, which includes rejecting all PAC and lobbyist money, pay raises, special interest funded travel, and the gold plated Congressional pension.”