Asian Americans win seats

Longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawai‘i) led the class of 2010 in winning (73 to 20 percent) his ninth term over little-known Republican Cam Cavasso on Nov. 2. Inouye, 86, is the nation’s most senior senator and is chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. As the Senate’s president pro tempore, Inouye is third in line for the presidency.

A  select number of races featuring Asian American candidates follows.

Congressional Seats

U.S. Representative, District 15 (California) — Incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), who has been a U.S. congressman for more than a decade, won with 66.6 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Scott Kirkland. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee and is chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

U.S. Representative, District 5 (California) — Incumbent Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), who serves in the United States House of Representatives and is a member of the Energy and Commerce and Rules committees, beat rival candidate Paul Smith (Republican) with 71.7 percent of the vote. She is a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton.

U.S. Representative, District 1 (Oregon) — Incumbent Congressman David Wu (D-Oregon) beat Republican businessman Rob Cornilles 54 to 42 percent.

U.S. Representative, District 1 (Hawai‘i) — The Asian American Congressional contingent gained another member, as Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, a Yonsei who serves as president of Hawai‘i’s Senate, defeated Republican Charles Djou 49.6 to 43.5 percent in a seat vacated by newly-elected Hawai‘i Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

U.S. Representative, District 2 (Hawai‘i) — Incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono sailed to re-election by defeating a tea party Republican candidate John Willoughby 67.7 to 23.7 percent in the race to represent Hawaii’s neighbor islands and rural Oahu.

U.S. Representative; District 32 — Democrat Judy Chu, who was elected in the 2009 special election, keeps her 32nd District seat. She started her career as an educator, and served the Garvey School District Board of Education for more than 24 years. She garnered 71.3 percent of the vote against Edward Schmerling, her Republican rival.

Statewide Elections

A tight race has developed in the California attorney general race, as San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, a Democrat, is leading Republican Steve Cooley 45.9 to 45.7 percent — a difference of 14,838 votes as of the afternoon of Nov. 3 — with 100 percent of precincts partially or fully reporting.

Democrat John Chiang, who was elected as the State Controller in 2006, easily defeated Republican challenger Tony Strickland 54.9 to 36.5 percent.

District 1 Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, a Democrat, easily won re-election over Republican challenger Kevin R. Scott, 62.3 to 32 percent. Asian American Michelle Steel, a Republican, won the District 3 seat over Democratic challenger Mary Christian Heising, 55.1 to 34.6 percent.

Sacramento native Tani Cantil-Sakauye a Filipino American nominated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as chief justice of California’s Supreme Court, was handily confirmed, as was Ming Chin, who had been serving on the state Supreme Court since 1996.

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 2, Division 4 — Steven Suzukawa, who was born in Tokyo, and has lived in the United States since 1960, was re-elected. He has served the Los Angeles courts since 1980 as a judge after attaining his law degree from UCLA in 1989.

Calif. State Senate District 8 — Leland Yee, the first Chinese American elected to the California State Senate and the first Asian American to serve as Assistant President Por Tempore of the Senate, won re-election. He serves District 8, which includes San Francisco and San Mateo County.

State Assembly District 55 — Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach) keeps his seat in the State Assembly after securing 71 percent of the vote against Republican Christopher Salabaj. Furutani has more than 40 years of involvement with education and public service. He authored Assembly Bill 37 in 2009, which confers honorary college degrees to Nikkei who were wrongfully incarcerated and unable to finish their studies at various Californian public colleges and universities.

State Assembly District 8 —Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) defends her Yolo County seat from Republican Michelle Connor with 61.5 percent of the vote. She has worked 36 years in public service.

State Assembly District 12 — Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) got 80.4 percent of the vote against Republican Alfonso Faustino Jr. in her re-election bid for this district which includes San Francisco and Daly City. She was appointed Speaker pro Tempore in 2010’.

State Assembly District 49 — Incumbent Democrat Mike Eng (D-El Monte) keeps his seat in the State Assembly with 69.2 percent of the vote against Brad Taylor. He serves under the Assembly Committee on Banking & Finance.

State Assembly District 22 — Incumbent Democrat Paul Fong defended his seat from Republican Eric Hickok with 65.8 percent of the vote. Fong has served District 22 since 2008. Fong chairs the Elections and Redistricting Committee.

State Assembly District 18 — Incumbent Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) defends her seat in the State Assembly after securing 74.4 percent of the vote against Michael Havig. She has represented the district since 2006. She is the vice chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

City Councils

Sacramento City Council District 7 — In a race featuring two Asian American candidates, Darrell Fong beat rival Ryan Chin with 51.56 percent of the vote. Fong, who is of Japanese descent, is a Sacramento native and a retired captain of the Sacramento Police Department.

Menlo Park City Council — Peter Ohtaki, the board president of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and executive director of the California Resiliency Alliance, was one of three people voted into office in this San Mateo County city after garnering 21.9 percent of the vote. 

Mountain View City Council — Margaret Abe-Koga, who has served the city of Mountain View since 2007 and served as the mayor in 2009, defends her city council position with 26.52 percent of the vote. She is the first Asian American woman to serve in the city council.

Lodi City Council — Former Lodi Mayor Alan Nakanishi was voted into office with 22.89 percent of the vote. Nakanishi was elected to the City Council in 1998, and was elected as a State Assemblyman in 2002. He is a native of California’s Central Valley.

Los Alamitos City Council — Warren Kusumoto voted in with his running mate Gerri L. Graham-Mejia and incumbent Troy Edgar with 17.9 percent of the vote. He is an engineer, and has served as Traffic commissioner in the city.

Campbell City Council — Evan Low, the current mayor of Campbell, maintains his position at the city council with 25.15 percent of the vote. He has served on the city council since 2006. He is a graduate of the Local Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

West Sacramento Mayor — Incumbent West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon keeps his position as mayor by garnering 63.9 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Greg Potnick. He is of Filipino American descent and has worked to revitalizing and maintaining his city through the recession.

School Districts

San Francisco Board of Education — Emily Murase lost her bid for the board of the San Francisco Unified School District to Hydra Mendoza, Kim-Shree Maufas, and Margaret Brodkin with only 13.96 percent of the vote — coming in fourth place. She is currently the executive director of San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women. She is a Sansei mother of two.

San Juan Unified School District — Larry Masuoka is a dentist and educator from the Sacramento area. He served as a board member of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. He won the seat alongside Greg A. Paulo with 37.08 percent of the vote.

Oakland School Board District 2 — David Kakishiba, who maintains his uncontested seat, is the executive director of the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC). He was one of the founders of several youth organizations including Oakland Kids First, Youth Together and Youth Sounds.

Byron Union School District Board (Contra Costa County) — Jeffery Sugimoto, a financial advisor and a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, won along with incumbents Jill Sprenkel and Elaine T. Landro. He received 27.73 percent of the vote.

Placer County Board of Education, Area 4 — Ken Tokutomi, who runs an accounting business out of Auburn, maintains his position with 62.28 percent of the vote against Lindsay Dale Mulsow. He is an incumbent on the board of education for the past eight years.

Templeton Unified School District Governing Board (San Luis Obispo County) — Nelson Yamagata, a local neurologist, secured his seat with 40.88 percent of the vote.

Santa Ana Unified School District Board — Audery Yamagata-Noji, who was first elected to the Santa Ana Unified School District in 1987, defends her seat on the board with 27.5 percent of the vote.

Special Districts

Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Ward 4 — Genevieve Shiroma defends her seat as director of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District with 65.37 percent of the vote. She has worked more than 20 years as an air quality engineer at the California Air Resource Board.

Arden Park Recreation and Park District — Royce Makishima, an investment officer and the vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors in Sacramento, is one of three elected to this office.

Water Replenishment District of Southern California Board; Division 3 — Lillian Y. Kawasaki keeps her seat as the Director of Division 3 of the Water Replinishment District of Southern California with 64.25 percent of the vote against John S. Ballard.

San Francisco Races

Two city officials, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, ran unopposed in their races. Adachi, the only elected public defender in California, is a former president of the Asian American Bar Association and the San Francisco chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Ting, the highest ranking Chinese American political official in San Francisco, was first elected as City Assessor in 2005. He is a former director of the Asian Law Caucus.

District 6 Supervisor — San Francisco School Board of Education President Jane Kim, is as of the afternoon of Nov. 3, leading with 31.34 percent of the vote. With no candidates achieving a 50-percent majority of votes in District 6, San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system will determine the winner in the coming days.

District 4 Supervisor — Supervisor Carmen Chu, appointed to the Board of Supervisors in September of 2007, ran unopposed.

Community College Board — Lawrence Wong is an incumbent candidate for San Francisco’s Community College Board of trustees. He maintains his position after receiving 30.77 percent of the vote. He wins this position along with John Rizzo and Anita Grier.

BART Board District 8 — James Fang is the longest serving director on the BART Board, maintains his position with 48.62 percent of the ballot.

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