Rafu Staff Report
Most of the Asian Pacific American members of Congress were re-elected in the Nov. 4 elections and two new members were added.
• Newcomer Mark Takai was elected to represent Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District (Honolulu), defeating Republican Charles Djou, a former member of Congress, 93,360 (51.2 percent) to 86,419 (47.4 percent). Takai served for almost 20 years in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He replaces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who gave up her U.S. House seat to challenge incumbent and fellow Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz in the primary. Schatz won the primary and the general election.
• Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who represents District 2 (rural Oahu and the other islands), easily fought off a challenge by Republican Kawika Crowley, 141,996 (75.8 percent) to 33,624 (17.9 percent). Born in American Samoa, Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran and the first Hindu American in Congress.
• Another newcomer is State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who was elected to replace Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman in California’s 33rd Congressional District. He received 79,708 votes (58.4 percent) to Republican Elan Carr’s 56,854 (41.6 percent). Lieu has been in the State Senate since 2011 and was in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010. “My family and I thank you for your help!” Lieu said in a Facebook post. “We are deeply grateful for your support. Together we now embark on a new journey to make America an even better place.”
• Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, was re-elected with 57,819 votes (58.3 percent) to Republican Jack Orswell’s 41,309 (41.7 percent). Previously a member of the California Board of Equalization and the State Assembly, Chu has been in office since 2009.
• Rep. Mark Takano (D- Riverside), CAPAC whip, won a second term by beating Republican Steve Adams, 38,755 votes (55.9 percent) to 30,621 (44.1 percent). Takano, who served on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees for 22 years, was first elected to Congress in 2012, defeating Republican John Tavaglione.
• Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), CAPAC chair emeritus, was leading his challenger, Ro Khanna, 66,338 (51.8 percent) to 61,701 (48.2 percent) as of Monday. Honda declared victory and Khanna conceded on Friday. Honda, who easily fought off Republican opponents over the years, faced a serious threat from fellow Democrat and fellow Asian American Khanna, who described himself as “a new kind of leader for the challenges of a new century.” Honda, who has been in office since 2001, was supported by the Democratic establishment, including President Obama, while Khanna had the backing of Silicon Valley technology leaders.
• Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova) was behind Republican challenger Doug Ose, a former congressman, 62,432 votes (49.1 percent) to 64,615 (50.9 percent), and has not conceded. Bera, the only Indian American in Congress, was first elected in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Dan Lungren. “We still have thousands of ballots left to count, but I feel very good about where we are today,” Bera said in a post on his campaign website. “Two years ago, we were tied on election night and we ended up winning by over 9,000 votes. And just like two years ago, our grassroots campaign was the largest of any congressional race in the country, which is why I’m confident we will again come out on top once all the votes are counted.”
• Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) was re-elected by a wide margin, 66,679 votes (72.0 percent) to Republican Joseph McCray Sr.’s 25,958 (28.0 percent). Matsui has been in office since 2009.
• Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) won a second term in Illinois 8th Congressional District (suburban Chicago), beating Republican Lawrence Kaifesh, 79,651 votes (55.4 percent) to 63,997 (44.6 percent). In 2012, Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs in combat and has served as a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois National Guard, defeated Republican incumbent Joe Walsh. Kaifesh also had military credentials, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) of the 6th Congressional District (Queens) ran unopposed. She was first elected in 2012, defeating Republican Daniel Halloran. She is the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress.
• Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), representing the 3rd Congressional District (Richmond, Hampton), was unopposed for election to his 12th term. First elected in 1992, Scott was the first American of Filipino descent and only the second African American to represent Virginia in Congress since John M. Langston left office in 1891.
• In New Jersey, Democrat Roy Cho lost his bid to unseat six-term incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Garrett, 77,708 votes (43 percent) to 100,557 (56 percent). Independent candidate Mark Quirk also ran. A 33-year-old business attorney who lives in Hackensack, Cho said he was running for office for the first time “to do something about the gridlock and moneyed special interests that are making Washington more dysfunctional than ever.”
• In American Samoa, Democratic Rep. Eni Faleomavaega was unseated by Republican Aumua Amata, 3,571 votes (30.8 percent) to 4,306 (42.0 percent). A total of nine candidates sought the position. Faleomavaega was first elected in 1989 and was previously lieutenant governor. Amata, who worked as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C. for 10 years, will be the first woman to serve as American Samoa’s non-voting delegate in Congress.
• Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the Northern Marianas’ delegate in Congress, was re-elected. First elected in 2008 when the seat was created, Sablan caucuses with the Democratic Party but ran an as an independent. His opponent was Democrat Andrew Sablan Salas.