RAFU WIRE SERVICES
On Tuesday, four new Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders were elected to serve in the House of Representatives, with one race too close to call.
Democrat Mark Takano, trustee of the Riverside Community College District, easily defeated Republican John Tavaglione in the newly drawn 41st Congressional District.
With all precincts reporting, Takano received 71,135 votes or 56.4 percent of the vote to Tavaglione, who received 55,081 or 43.6 percent. Takano, 51, is the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress.
Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth ousted Republican Tea Party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh on Tuesday in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District. She told supporters Tuesday night at a rally in the Chicago suburbs that she will bring “a new attitude to Washington.”
Duckworth says Walsh was gracious and offered to help her establish her office in Washington. She told supporters that she looks forward to being their congresswoman.
Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, is an Iraq War veteran who left her job in the Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs to run for Congress.
Former Honolulu Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard has easily won a bid to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House, beating a homeless handyman who surprised many by winning the Republican ticket but didn’t have enough resources to seriously compete in the general election. Gabbard easily beat Kawika Crowley on Tuesday night.
Gabbard rose quickly among Hawaii Democrats, coming back from a double-digit deficit in polls in the Democratic primary to beat former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. She went on to speak at the Democratic National Convention, appearing with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Gabbard, who is of Samoan descent and will be the first Hindu member of Congress, resigned from her council seat to allow the city to hold a special election to replace her.
In New York, Democrat Grace Meng was declared the winner over Republican Dan Halloran. She becomes the first Asian American member of Congress from New York. Meng is a Taiwanese American lawyer and a member of the New York State Assembly.
Fellow Democrat Nate Shinagawa, a member of the Tompkins County Legislature, lost in New York’s newly drawn 23rd Congressional District to Republican incumbent Tom Reed.
In Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District, Ami Bera, a Democrat, held a narrow edge over Republican opponent Dan Lungren. At press time, less than 200 votes separated the two candidates, and both sides cautioned that it could be days before a winner is declared. Bera, who is of Indian American and Mexican American heritage, served as chief medical officer in Sacramento County.
Incumbents Judy Chu (D-San Gabriel), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), scored easy victories.
Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang, a Democrat, lost to incumbent Rep. John Campbell in the 45th Congressional District. In Fullerton, Democrat Jay Chen lost his bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Ed Royce in the 39th Congressional District, in a race that drew bitter charges of racism in the final weeks.