Former Rep. Pete Stark, the 20-term Democrat ousted last year, warned attorney Ro Khanna against challenging Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., this cycle.
At the start of the 2014 cycle, Khanna eyed a bid against Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who defeated Stark last year,
against Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who defeated Stark last year, in the 15th District. But Khanna, also a Democrat, instead launched a challenge against Honda
. But Khanna, also a Democrat, instead launched a challenge against Honda in the neighboring 17th District earlier this year.
"I tried to convince Ro not to do that," Stark said in a Wednesday phone interview. "I think that’s impertinent of him. I mean ... Mike is a fantastic member of Congress."
Stark added that Ro, "has to wait and run. There are plenty of good seats open he could run for — there's a county supervisor that covers the congressional district that would give him name recognition."
Khanna confirmed through a spokesperson that he and Stark had a private conversation but declined to comment on what was discussed.
Khanna has raised more than $1.5 million in his primary bid against Honda, capitalizing on the district's Silicon Valley residents for the financial support.
Due to the Golden State's top-two primary system — where the top two vote recipients advance to the general regardless of party identification — Khanna and Honda will likely battle it out through Election Day 2014.
Meanwhile, Stark is also meddling in the neighboring race for his former district. Stark told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday that he is "doing everything I can" to defeat his successor by supporting Swalwell's Democratic opponent: state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett.
Local California press said Stark's involvement in the contest may overshadow Corbett's bid.
At the same time, other members in the California delegation are supporting Swalwell's re-election.
"People have a right to run for election but I do think there should be a better reason than I want the job," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said of Corbett's bid. "It should be. What’s wrong with the job the congressman is doing? And I think Eric is doing a fine job.”