Asian Pacific American election roundup


Asian Americans made considerable inroads into California’s political scene, especially among statewide elections and the State Assembly races with the Nov. 4 election. The following are the unofficial results of several races featuring Asian American candidates in California, some pending provisional ballots.

Statewide contests

For statewide contest, several Asian Americans maintain a heavy presence in Sacramento, Calif. While Republican challenger Neel Kashkari lost to incumbent Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown with 41 percent of the vote, other Asian Americans will assume or maintain power in the state capitol. For the office of State Controller, Democrat Betty Yee won against Republican Ashley Swearengin with 52.8 percent of the vote, while current State Controller John Chiang beat Republican Greg Conion in his race for State Treasurer with 57.7 percent of the vote. Attorney General Kamala Harris maintains her office by defeating Republican challenger Ronald Gold.

Board of Equalization

For District 2 of the Board of Equalization, Democrat Fiona Ma soundly defeated Republican James E. Theis with 67.4 percent of the vote. 

U.S. House of Representatives

Within the U.S. House of Representatives, most Asian American candidates held on to their seats, but Democrat incumbent Ami Bera of District 7 lost his seat to Republican Doug Ose with only 48.6 percent of the vote. For other Asian American Democrats, the status-quo remained. Doris Matsui stays in office in District 6 with 71.9 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Joseph McCray. In a showdown between Asian Americans, incumbent Mike Honda kept his seat in District 17 against fellow Democrat Ro Khanna with 52.2 percent of the vote while Judy Chu remains in office by beating Republican Jack Orswell in District 27 with 58.6 percent of the vote. In District 41, Mark Takano also keeps his seat by defeating Republican Steve Adams with 55.1 percent of the vote in District 41. In District 33, Democrat State Senator Ted Lieu won against Republican Elan Carr with 58.4 percent of the vote to take over Democrat Henry A. Waxman’s seat. In District 11, Republican Tue Phan lost his bid against Democrat Mark DeSaulnier with only 33.8 percent of the vote.

State Senate

The California State Senate race produced a mixed bag of results. In District 6, Democrat Richard Pan won against fellow Democrat Roger Dickinson with 53.1 percent of the vote. Republican Janet Nguyen defeated Democrat Jose Solorio with 60 percent of the vote in District 34. Meanwhile Republican Peter Kuo lost against Democrat Bob Wieckowski with 32.1 percent of the vote in District 10 and Democrat Peter Choi was defeated by incumbent and fellow Democrat Kevin DeLeon with 33.3 percent of the vote in District 24. 

State Assmebly races

Within the state assembly, Asian 

Americans mostly won out.

A number of Democrats will enter or maintain their seats in the California state Assembly by defeating their Republican challengers. For incumbents, Rob Bonta soundly beat challenger David Erlich by securing 85.4 percent of the vote in District 18. Likewise, Phil Ting beat Rene Pineda for District 19 with 75.9 percent of the vote, while Das Williams also keeps his seat by beating Ron DeBlauw with 57.6 percent of the vote in District 37. Ed Chau maintains his seat in the Assembly by defeating Esthela Torres Siegrist with 60.8 percent of the vote in District 49. In other races, Kansen Chu also defeated rival Bob Brunton for District 25 with 68.4 percent of the vote. Evan Low beat Chuck Page with 58.2 percent of the vote in District 28. 

In a close race between two Democrat San Francisco City Supervisors, David Chiu was beating David Campos with 51.4 percent of the vote for District 17.

For Republicans, Ling-Ling Chang defeated Democrat Gregg D. Fritchle with 63.4 percent of the vote in District 55 and Young Kim defeats Democrat incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva in District 65 with 56 percent of the vote. District 65, according to Nichi Bei Weekly’s political columnist Bill Wong, had a large number of undecided voters of Korean and Vietnamese decent.

In losses, several Asian American Democrats lost their bids for State Assembly. Darrell Fong lost against fellow Democrat Jim Cooper with 43.9 percent of the vote for District 9 and Ken Park lost to Republican incumbent Eric Linder in District 60 with 38.3 percent of the vote. 

Meanwhile, in District 66 incumbent Al Muratsuchi lost to Republican challenger David Hadley with 48.6 percent of the vote. Republican Nathaniel Tsai, who graduated high school last year and claims to be the youngest Californian to ever run for a California State Assmebly seat, lost against incumbent Democrat Chris Holden with 41 percent of the vote in District 41.

Local Races

Several local races featured Japanese Americans as well. In San Francsico, Public Defender Jeff Adachi remains as public defender with 98.3 percent of the vote while running unopposed. For the San Francisco Unified School District Board, Emily M. Murase was re-elected with 18.8 percent of the vote, the most of any other candidate. Murase will be joined by fellow incumbent Hydra Mendoza and newly elected Shamann Walton.

In District 2 of the Oakland Unified School District, Aimee Sueko Eng won against William “Bo” Ghirardellifor school director with 74.9 percent of the vote.

In Santa Clara County, several Nikkei failed to secure elected office. Ellen Kamei, who ran for City Council in Mountain View lost to Pat Showalter, Mercedes Salem and Leonard “Lenny” Siegel with 10.28 percent of the vote. Margaret Abe-Koga lost her bid for the El Camino Healthcare District to David Reeder and Peter C. Fung with 28.33 percent of the vote.

Outside California

Outside of California, several Asian politicians succeeded in their campaigns for Congress. In Hawai‘i, Mark Takai will join fellow Democrat Tulsi Gabbard in Congress. Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth declared victory against Republican Larry Kaifesh, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Democrat Rep. Grace Meng of New York ran unopposed and won re-election for the District 6 Congressional seat. 

Democrat Jani Iwamoto won against Republican Sabrina R. Petersen in her bid for Utah State Senate with 61.67 percent of the vote.


Correction (published in the Nov. 20, 2014 issue)

Accuracy is fundamental in journalism. In the Nov. 6-19, 2014 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly, the article entitled “Asian Pacific American election roundup” erroneously stated Rep. Ami Bera of California and California Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi had lost their bids for reelection. The final tally has yet to be made and neither candidate has conceded. The Nichi Bei Weekly regrets the errors. 

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