CUPERTINO (KPIX 5) -- A candidate in one of the Bay Area's tightest races has been endorsed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Congressman Mike Honda and challenger Ro Khanna are again competing for California's 17th congressional district seat, and the former president has made a surprising endorsement.
Carter spurned Honda, a longtime lawmaker, and instead chose to endorse Honda's opponent.
Carter writes, "Ro has the type of idealism, energy and deep commitment to public service that we desperately need in Congress. He will be a future leader for our party and country."
Khanna said, "It's such an honor to have President Carter's support."
A recently unveiled political ad links Honda's personal history as a survivor of a Japanese internment camp with his work as a lawmaker.
Honda's campaign spokesperson Vedant Patel said, "Democratic leaders up and down this state believe in Mike Honda's progressive vision for Silicon Valley and this state."
An avalanche of political ads are expected to drop in the closing days of the campaign.
An exclusive KPIX 5/SurveyUSA poll shows Khanna with a razor-thin lead over Honda.
Khanna discussed Carter's endorsement, saying, "He's respected around the world. He's respected as a strong Democrat and as someone who's stood up for human rights. And for him to weigh in on this race is very significant."
Honda's campaign downplayed the importance of Carter's endorsement, emphasizing the support of lawmakers like Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
Honda's campaign spokesperson Patel said, "Congressman Honda does incredibly well with Democratic voters. And next month, Democrats are going to turn out in full force to elect the first female president. And when that happens, Ro Khanna's going to have a lot of explaining to do."
Honda's campaign is accusing Khanna and his former campaign manager of improperly accessing donor information from a company hired by the Congressman.
The federal lawsuit filed by the Honda campaign will be back in front of a judge on Tuesday.
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