SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — Incumbent Congressman Mike Honda and Ro Khanna are in the stretch run of their second campaign battle in as many election cycles for California’s 17th Congressional district seat. Both candidates sat down with Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur on his program “The Public Interest” to discuss their visions for Silicon Valley and the legal battles each of them are embroiled in.

With an ongoing Congressional ethics investigation in play against him, Honda was asked how Khanna has been able to use those charges against him, while building his brand, image and appeal to wealthy Silicon Valley luminaries. Honda responded by saying his opponent has benefited from a multitude of news articles that misrepresent the alleged investigation.

“It wasn’t ethics,” Honda said. “It was about assuming we had broken some House rules. And we did not break any laws that we have out there.”

Honda said the House Congressional Ethics Committee is currently completing its investigation of the matter, but added the research will not be completed and results won’t be made available until after the election. Because of that, he’s hoping his reputation in the community and amongst his constituents will serve him on Election Day.

“I have to depend upon my constituents to understand who I am, where I came from, how much I’ve done and my reputation and hope that they remember and trust my character and history.”

Honda went on to say that while he doesn’t necessarily agree the investigation is a smear of his image, he does believe the print and news media have used it as such a vehicle. He said the frequent appearance of specific keywords in articles relating to his investigation have almost been used subliminally.

“I think the way they used it and the way the print media has been going about it… its been exactly that.”

Ro Khanna in his second run at Honda’s seat, is doing so as a changed man. Since his first attempt in 2014, Khanna has gotten married to Ritu, daughter of Usha Ahuja and Monte Ahuja of Hunting Valley, Ohio.

Khanna’s father-in-law is a prominent figure in Ohio, serving as the chairman of Mura Holdings, an investment firm, and the chief executive of Transmaxx, an automotive transmission parts supplier. Cleveland State University also named their business school after Mr. Ahuja after he served as their Board of Trustees chair and donated $10 million.

Heading into Election Day, Khanna is the Democratic party’s nominee against his incumbent, after edging out Honda during the state’s primary election with 39% of the vote.

Aside from these changes, Khanna said it’s the time he’s spent since his defeat in the community that make him more qualified than ever to serve and lead.

“I think I’ve just been much more locally engaged,” he said. “I think what’s working for us is our positive vision,” Khanna said. “The President Jimmy Carter just endorsed me. A focus on bringing back more money for our schools, helping bring jobs and supporting small business, I think that’s really why we’re winning.”

Khanna was asked about how this contest has been full of much more invective than the previous campaign, with both sides throwing their fair share of blows in commercials on television and social media. While Honda has had his ethics investigation used against him, the Khanna campaign has had to deal with a federal lawsuit filed by Honda that claims Khanna and his former campaign manager stole supporter and donor information via a political consultant’s Dropbox account.

Khanna pointed to the San Jose Mercury News dismissing the lawsuit as a “publicity stunt,” and the San Francisco Chronicle dubbing it as a suit “stretching the facts” as enough for the voters in Silicon Valley to know how to respond.

However, when Honda filed the lawsuit, Khanna’s campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi resigned his post.

The charges against him are entirely false, Khanna said, adding, “Larry Lessig, the Harvard constitutional law professor, who’s a supporter of Mike Honda, just blogged that it was a really stupid, bad call to even sue under the statute he is. That there’s no grounds for it [he wrote].”

“I know for a fact the campaign hasn’t used any of that information because we had an internal audit that we presented to the judge. Of all our email lists, there were only 418 overlaps out of 135,000.”

As far as Parvizshahi, Khanna confirmed he resigned, but said it was because of the complications the Honda campaign has created in his life.

“He resigned because he has thousands of dollars in legal debt, Mike Honda is suing a 27-year-old kid in federal court, but I’m confident that the suit will be thrown out.”

One thing is for certain — the winner of this race will have battle scars that will be visible from the Bay Area to Washington.