WASHINGTON – The Nov. 8 election will bring several new Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to the U.S. Congress, many of whom will be setting historic firsts when they are officially sworn in.
Two new AAPI candidates were elected to serve in the U.S. Senate and five in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Last night, the American people elected a record a number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to serve in the U.S. Congress,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said on Nov. 9. “The 115th Congress will include more women and minorities than ever before, which means that the people making decisions for Americans will better reflect the diversity of our nation. With these victories, CAPAC will have its highest AAPI membership in history, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to come together and move our nation forward.”
Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois won her Senate race and made history as the first Thai American elected to the U.S. Senate. California Attorney General Kamala Harris also won her Senate race, becoming the first Indian American elected to the U.S. Senate.
The House has its first Vietnamese American woman representative-elect, Stephanie Murphy of Florida; first Indian American woman representative-elect, Pramila Jayapal of Washington; Indian American Representative-Elects Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Ro Khanna of California; as well as returning member Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii.
At this time, CAPAC Executive Board member Rep. Ami Bera of Sacramento holds the lead in a close race that has yet to be decided. If he wins, there will be a total of 18 Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress next year.
In addition to welcoming newly elected members, Chu also thanked departing CAPAC Chair Emeritus Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose for his service.
“CAPAC thanks Congressman Mike Honda for his tireless work to champion issues critical to the AAPI community and to all Americans during his 16 years of service in the U.S. Congress,” said Chu. “Our caucus would not be where it is today without his leadership, and his presence and commitment to advancing CAPAC’s mission and goals will be greatly missed.”
Congressional Election Results
U.S. Senate — Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) defeated Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange), 6,056,019 (62.5 percent) to 3,627,026 (37.5 percent). Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, will be California’s first Asian American female and African American senator. She has been attorney general since 2011 and previously served as district attorney of San Francisco. She will succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), who is retiring.
5th Congressional District — Incumbent Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) defeated Republican Robert (Bob) Evans, 133,231 (75.1 percent) to 44,277 (24.9 percent). Matsui was first elected in 2005.
7th Congressional District — Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento) was ahead of Republican Scott R. Jones, 119,448 (51.0 percent) to 114,646 (49.0 percent). Bera was first elected in 2012.
17th Congressional District — Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) was defeated by fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, 85,482 (38.9 percent) to 134,269 (61.1 percent) in a rematch of the 2014 election. Honda was first elected in 2000. Khanna served as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Commerce under President Obama.
27th Congressional District — Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) defeated Republican Jack Orswell, 124,795 (66.4 percent) to 63,088 (33.6 percent). Chu was first elected in 2009.
33rd Congressional District — Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) defeated Republican Kenneth W. Wright, 161,978 (66.3 percent) to 82,184 (33.7 percent). Lieu was first elected in 2014.
41st Congressional District — Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) defeated Republican Doug Shepherd, 100,818 (63.6 percent) to 57,612 (36.4 percent). Takano was first elected in 2012.
46th Congressional District — Democrat Bao Nguyen, the mayor of Garden Grove, lost to former State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), 38,962 (30.1 percent) to 90,692 (69.9 percent). The seat is currently held by Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
1st Congressional District — Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) won two races to succeed the late Rep. Mark Takai (D). One was to serve the remainder of Takai’s term, which expires in January. Hanabusa, who will take office immediately, was the top vote-getter among 10 candidates with 129,083 (60.5 percent). Her nearest competitor was Republican Shirlene DelaCruz Ostrov with 44,090 (20.6 percent). The other candidates, whose percentages were in single digits, were Angela Aulani Kaiihue (D), Alan J.K. Yim (Libertarian), Howard Kim (D), Peter Cross (D), Calvin Griffin (nonpartisan), Javier Ocasio (D), Yvonne Perry (nonpartisan) and Peter Plotzeneder (nonpartisan).
In the race for a full two-year term, Hanabusa was first with 145,417 (68.1 percent), followed by Ostrov with 45,958 (21.5 percent) and Yim and Griffin in single digits. Hanabusa previously represented the district but gave up her seat to run for U.S. Senate and lost to incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz (D).
2nd Congressional District — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) defeated Kaiihue (R), 170,848 (76.2 percent) to 39,668 (17.7 percent). Gabbard, one of the first female combat veterans to serve in Congress, was first elected in 2012. Kaiihue, who ran as a Democrat in District 1 and a Republican in District 2, condemned non-Christians, and Gabbard in particular for being a Hindu, and openly expressed hatred for Japanese Americans.
U.S. Senate — Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R), 1,049,721 (64.1 percent) to 507,398 (31 percent). Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq War, was first elected to the House in 2012. Kirk, who has been accused of exaggerating his own military record, was widely criticized for ridiculing Duckworth’s Thai heritage during a debate. Libertarian Kenton McMillen and Green Party candidate Scott Summers finished in single digits.
8th Congressional District — Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi defeated Republican Pete DiCianni, 93,850 (59.2 percent) to 64,663 (40.8 percent) and will succeed Duckworth in the House. Krishnamoorthi, who has served as special assistant attorney general and deputy state treasurer, lost to Duckworth in the 2012 Democratic primary.
7th Congressional District — Democrat Stephanie Murphy defeated Rep. John Mica (R), 181,758 (51.5 percent) to 171,412 (48.5 percent). The daughter of refugees, Murphy is the first Vietnamese American woman and second Vietnamese American elected to Congress. She is a business executive who has worked for the U.S. secretary of defense.
10th Congressional District — Republican Thuy Lowe lost to Rep. Val Demings (D), 107,423 (35.1 percent) to 198,309 (64.9 percent). Lowe ran for the 5th Congressional District in 2014 but lost in the Republican primary.
7th Congressional District — In a race between two Democrats, Pramila Jayapal defeated State Rep. Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, 144,826 (56.74 percent) to 110,401 (43.26 percent). Jayapal, who has served as a state senator since 2015, will succeed Rep. Jim McDermott (D). She is the first Indian American woman elected to the House.
3rd Congressional District — Rep. Bobby Scott (D) defeated Republican Marty Williams, 199,748 (67 percent) to 99,047 (33 percent). Scott, who is part Filipino, was first elected in 1992.
6th Congressional District — Rep. Grace Meng (D) defeated Republican Danniel Maio, 123,018 (71.4 percent) to 47,278 (27.4 percent). Meng, who has been in office since 2013, is the first Asian American member of Congress from New York.
4th Congressional District — Republican Sue Googe lost to Rep. David Price (D), 112,938 (31.6 percent) to 244,865 (68.4 percent). A native of China, Googe works in the IT industry and founded a real estate investment.