SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Voters in the South Bay are deciding between two Democrats in one of the nation’s most intriguing House races.

Mike Honda, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, is facing a challenge from Stanford economics professor and former Obama administration official Ro Khanna.

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In early returns, Honda is leading with 53.5 percent of the votes cast, while Khanna has 46.5 percent. (As of 3:41 a.m. PST, Honda was leading 52 percent to 48 percent over Khanna with 85 percent of precincts reporting.)

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The battle between Honda and Khanna was set up through the state’s new “top two” primary system, which pits the top two vote getters in the primary election, regardless of party, in the general election.

In the June Primary, Honda finished with 50 percent, while Khanna finished second with 26 percent. In recent weeks, the election has tightened, with a recent KPIX 5 poll showing a dead heat between the two candidates.

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The 17th Congressional District covers much of Silicon Valley and part of the East Bay. Communities include Cupertino, Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and the northern part of San Jose.