RANCHO CORDOVA — More than two weeks after the polls closed, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova), a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the only Indian American in Congress, declared victory over Republican Doug Ose.
On Nov. 4, Ose, a small business owner and former congressman (1999-2005), was slightly ahead of Bera, a doctor and freshman congressman, but the margin was so close that Ose did not declare victory and Bera did not concede.
As the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters continued to count tens of thousands of ballots, Bera closed the gap and pulled ahead of Ose. On Nov. 20, the count was 92,392 votes (50.4 percent) for Bera, 90,962 (49.6 percent) for Ose, a difference of 1,430 votes.
“It’s been my honor serving this community as a doctor for the last 19 years, and I am grateful I will have the opportunity to continue serving as the representative for California’s 7th Congressional District in Congress,” Bera said in a statement on Nov. 19.
Ose congratulated Bera and said, “I have had the honor over the last 15 years to work with Sacramento County residents and I am grateful for the privilege that they have granted me. I especially want to single out the dozens of young people who contributed time and effort in this campaign. They have reinforced my faith that America’s best days are ahead of her, and I look forward to participating with them as we work to get our country back on track.”
While waiting for the final count, Bera reminded his supporters that his first election in 2012 was also very close but resulted in the ouster of the Republican incumbent, Dan Lungren, who had been in office since 2005, served as California’s attorney general from 1991 to 1999, and represented Long Beach in Congress from 1979 to 1989. Bera lost narrowly to Lungren in 2010.
The district includes Elk Grove, where Bera has his medical practice, Rancho Cordova and Folsom. Bera also has ties to Southern California, having graduated from UC Irvine and served as associate dean of the UCI School of Medicine (2004-2007).
Bera’s win was a bit of good news for the Democratic Party, which suffered losses across the country in the mid-term elections. It was the nation’s most expensive congressional race, with expenditures by both sides exceeding $20 million. Bera received high-profile support, including an appearance by former President Bill Clinton last month at a rally on the UC Davis campus.