Indian-Americans running for elections for the US Senate, the Congress, and California State Assembly won primaries on June 7 to move on to the November elections.
LOS ANGELES, CA - Among the winners were California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris running for...
Harris got the first place beating her closest rival Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Orange County who secured the second place in the Senate primary. The two Democrats will face off in November, as the rules allow for the top two contenders, regardless of party affiliations, to go through to the elections. Harris and Sanchez dominated a crowded field of 34 candidates to advance in the race for the state’s first open U.S. Senate seat in more than 20 years. “Tonight California spoke and it said that we are a state that is unified,” Harris said, in her victory speech. “We are clear of purpose. Our unity is our strength and our diversity is our power. And I am just thrilled. We have worked so hard. … I am a proud daughter of California and I could not be more proud than tonight. When I look at who spoke … in this very important election, it was about all of us together — African-American, Latino, Asian, Caucasian, LGBT.”
In other primaries, incumbent Congressman Ami Bera, the only Indian-American presently in Congress, came out on top in the 7th Congressional District to qualify for the November elections.
The Sacramento Democrat received 53.25% of the vote, according to the Secretary of State’s results. Seeking his third term in office, Bera faced off against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican, who received 46.58%. In May, Bera’s father, Babulal Bera, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than a quarter of a million dollars to his son’s 2010 and 2012 campaigns.
The congressman has said that neither he nor campaign aides knew of his father’s activities until they were contacted by federal prosecutors. An aide said Ami Bera wrote a check from his political account to the U.S. Treasury on the day of the plea to cover the entire amount identified by prosecutors. Republicans have pushed Bera to provide more information about what happened, and political observers questioned how the lingering questions might affect voters.
Before the results came in, the second-term congressman said he expected to lose the primary to Scott. He lost the primary in his previous two races, but he won in the general. This time round however, he won the primary.
Repeat challenger Ro Khanna pulled off a surprise with a first place finish over incumbent veteran Democrat Mike Honda, in Congressional District 17. This was a stark contrast from the 2014 primary, when Khanna trailed Honda (D-San Jose) by 20 points. Khanna has been building up momentum. Both will square off in November as the top two finishers in the 17th Congressional District, which includes much of Silicon Valley, including Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and part of San Jose.
Khanna, a Fremont attorney, holds a much stronger hand than he did in 2014. While Honda, who is seeking a ninth term in Congress, trampled Khanna, 48 percent to 28 percent, in the primary two years ago, Khanna slashed that margin dramatically on June 7. Khanna, 39, never really stopped running after his 2014 loss, announcing his new campaign just months after his defeat. But rather than presenting himself principally as the congressman from tech-heavy Silicon Valley, as he did during his unsuccessful challenge to Honda, Khanna this time concentrated more on local issues, showing up at city events to talk about regional problems.
It was a tough primary campaign that is likely to get nastier in the months leading to the November election. Khanna has slammed Honda, 74, continually on a House ethics investigation into allegations that the congressman’s staff broke rules by working too closely with his campaign team. For his part, Honda has characterized Khanna as someone more interested in getting elected to Congress than in actually serving the community.
Former Anaheim Pro-Tem Mayor Harry Sidhu, a Republican, running for the 68th Assembly District, covering the Tustin and Lake Forest areas landed in the top two positions. Sidhu will challenge Democrat Sean Panahi, who won the primary with 22,965 votes and 33 percent, in the November election.
Talking to the media he said, “I am honored that the 68th State Assembly District voters have placed their trust in me to be their voice in Sacramento as a champion for small business owners and taxpayer protection.” Sidhu vows to be a champion for small and medium business, reform state spending and making public safety a priority. Sidhu is a longtime Orange County-based small business owner. He has served on the Anaheim City Council for eight years, as well as on the Orange County Water District board of directors.
Sidhu vows to be a champion for small and medium business, reform state spending and making public safety a priority.
Ahead of the primaries, Sidhu, drew flak from fellow candidates for incorrectly stating in his candidate statement that he has experience being mayor, according to a report in the OC Register.
Sidhu, an Anaheim city councilman from 2004 to 2012, served as mayor pro tem but never mayor.
His candidate statement posted on the Orange County registrar of voters website reads, “Harry’s experience includes: Mayor and City Councilman; Orange County Water District Director.”
Sidhu, said it was a typo and blamed state election law for not allowing him to correct the error, even before the filing deadline.
“This is a flaw in the law,” Sidhu said. “They should be able to make us correct it.”
The statement appeared as it is on the sample ballot pamphlet for the primary as no one filed a lawsuit requesting a correction San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra, Democrat, earned a spot in the state’s 27th Assembly District, finishing second to fellow Democrat Madison Nguyen, a former vice mayor of San Jose. Nguyen won with 35.3 percent votes against Kalra’s 18.85 percent. Kalra will continue to focus on the major issues he has been tackling dating back to his time in the city council which include education, transportation, affordable housing and job creation and feels confident about the November election.