Today's Sacramento Bee takes a look at some of the very early campaign action in California congressional districts that are expected to be home to big fights between Democrats and Republicans in 2014.
Races unlikely to switch party hands are picking up as well.
California's new election laws, which allow two candidates from the same party to compete in the general election, mean tough primary challenges can extend into the fall. Two incumbents, Democratic Reps. Joe Baca and Pete Stark, lost to members of the same party as a result of the change in last year's election.
Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, is already trying to fend off a possible challenge from Ro Khanna, a 36-year-old attorney and former Obama appointee, in Silicon Valley's 17th Congressional District.
Khanna, who has more than $1 million in campaign funds in the bank, has yet to announce formal plans to run. But Honda is readying for a challenge by holding fundraising events to build a campaign war chest and trumpeting early endorsements from Obama, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel. This week, Honda's team released an internal poll that gives the congressman a 52-point lead over his potential challenger.
"Smart campaigns are hard working and prepared campaigns," Honda campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said. "The congressman and his team realize that if there is a race, they want to have the best possible team that's prepared and ready to win. And if there isn't, then they've done their homework."
Competition means an early start for California House campaigns
Ex GOP Rep. Doug Ose weighs challenge to Democrat Ami Bera
Elizabeth Emken eyes challenging Ami Bera in Sacramento seat
PHOTO CREDIT: Rep. Mike Honda speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file, 2008