The Asian American members of California’s congressional delegation, including two Japanese Americans, were re-elected in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while challengers did not fare well and a candidate for an open seat made history.
Rep. Doris Matsui
6th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) was re-elected with 58,007 votes (79.7 percent) to fellow Democrat Jrmar Jefferson’s 14,781 (20.3 percent). Matsui has been in office since 2005.
“Today, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your overwhelming support throughout this election,” Matsui said in a Facebook post. “I am so grateful and honored to be the voice of this district in Congress. Thank you for believing in me, and I promise that I will continue to proudly represent everyone in the Sacramento region!”
Rep. Ami Bera
7th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento) was re-elected with 54,097 votes (52.7 percent) to Republican Andrew Grant’s 46,597 (47.3 percent). Bera has been in office since 2013.
“It’s been an honor serving the 7th Congressional District as your congressman and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve again,” Bera said. “I want to thank Andrew Grant for a spirited campaign and for the exchange of ideas. This has been a long campaign and I am so grateful for the trust voters have placed in me again.
“This election was about the values we hold as Americans. If we are truly going to heal this country, we must start by rebuilding trust in government, working across party lines, and putting people before politics. Whether it’s protecting health care or improving Social Security and Medicare – the choices we make right now will directly impact future generations raised in Sacramento County. I promise to continue to listen and engage with every part of our community. Even when we disagree, I will always listen to your concerns and be there to represent you to the best of my ability.
“Now that Election Day is behind us, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work healing the divides in our nation. Washington isn’t fixed by elections, it’s fixed by those dedicated to making things better. I promise to be one of those who will reach across the aisle, build compromise, and continue to make government work for Sacramento County.”
16th Congressional District: Republican challenger Elizabeth Heng lost to incumbent Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), 37,480 (45.6 percednt) to 44,769 (54.4 percent). The daughter of Cambodian refugees, Heng worked in Washington for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee.
“My campaign was not for myself, but for the people of this Valley, because I believed — and still believe — that we deserve better solutions to the issues we face,” Heng said. “We’ve fought a hard battle this election season, but the fight does not stop here. We cannot give up the battle for water, better healthcare, or for real solutions to immigration.
“I cannot thank enough the supporters who stood beside me during my campaign. The success I had during my run was because of the people who believed in opportunity for the Valley and the American Dream.”
Rep. Ro Khanna
17th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) was re-elected with 79,790 votes (72.8 percent) to Republican Ron Cohen’s 29,810 (27.2 percent). Khanna took office in 2017 after defeating fellow Democrat Mike Honda.
“Grateful to everyone involved and who came out to vote for returning us to Congress with an overwhelming victory,” Khanna said. “It is the honor of my life to serve California’s 17th District!”
22nd Congressional District: Democratic challenger Andrew Janz was unable to unseat Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), finishing with 59,528 votes (44.2 percent) to the incumbent’s 75,111 (55.8 percent). Janz, who is of Thai descent on his mother’s side, is a Fresno County deputy district attorney. The race received national attention because Nunes, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has defended President Trump instead of investigating him.
“This race brought our community together under contentious circumstances,” Janz said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done to awaken the Central Valley to what democracy looks like. This is a celebration of all your hard work!”
Rep. Judy Chu
27th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) was re-elected with 104,414 votes (78.4 percent) to fellow Democrat Bryan Witt’s 28,740 (21.6 percent). Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, has been in office since 2009.
“Just one day after Americans voted to elect over 100 women to the House and change the direction of our country, Donald Trump took actions that undermine the ACA, violate federal court injunctions, and attack women’s health,” Chu tweeted.
“The first gives your employer a VETO over access to birth control, which is legal and medically approved. No other healthcare choice is subject to an employer’s veto, making this a direct attack on women’s bodies and liberties. The second rule goes out of its way to make it harder for 1.3 million women with health insurance through the ACA to pay for an abortion. To be clear, abortion is still legal and safe, but now it’s Trump and not a doctor determining which women can have one.”
Rep. Ted Lieu
33rd Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach) was re-elected with 144,380 votes (68 percent) to Republican Kenneth Weston Wright’s 67,9393 (32 percent). Lieu has been in office since 2015.
“The American people on Election Night voted to make America great again by electing a Congress with a spine,” Lieu said. “The House of Representatives, a coequal branch of government, will now be a check and balance on Donald Trump and his administration, just as the Framers intended.”
34th Congressional District: Green Party candidate Kenneth Mejia finished far behind incumbent Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), 24,593 (25.8 percent) to 70,695 (74.2 percent).
“Today, Nov. 7, is the day I was born,” Mejia said. “Funny that it’s 1 day after one of the best days of my life. Y’all have been with me for 3 birthdays now since we first ran in 2016, 2017, & 2018. It’s like I’m growing up with y’all! Thank you all for the SELFLESS love & support you gave to me & our team. I still can’t fathom that 25,000 & counting people voted for US, for change, to BREAK the status quo & voted Green (many for the first time)! THANK YOU!”
39th Congressional District: Republican Young Kim, a former member of the Assembly, beat Democrat Gil Cisneros, 78,667 (51.3 percent) to 74,793 (48.7 percent) to become the first Korean American woman elected to Congress. Kim, a former aide to Rep. Ed Royce, will succeed him.
“Ballots are still being counted, but I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our campaign,” Kim said. “From the beginning of this campaign, we have had an outpouring support from every corner of the 39th District and this has been a truly humbling experience. This was a tough race, but I am proud of the campaign that we ran. To my family, volunteers, and prayer warriors, I can’t thank you enough. I couldn’t have done this without you.”
Rep. Mark Takano
41st Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) was re-elected with 43,929 votes (60.4 percent) to Republican Aja Smith’s 28,749 (39.6 percent). A former Riverside Community College trustee, Takano, the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress, has been in office since 2013. With control of the House switching to Democrats, he is looking to become the next chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
“We laid it all on the line and had some important gains on Tuesday,” Takano said in a message to his supporters. “More than 100 LGBTQ candidates were elected up and down the ballot across the country and a record number of women (at least 100!) are headed to the House of Representatives. This is just the start …
“I am honored to continue to fight for the people of California’s 41st District, standing up for access to affordable quality healthcare, a public education system that works, our veterans, and our progressive values.
“Democrats winning back the House, many of them diverse trailblazers, means we will have a Congress that is ready to hold the Trump Administration accountable and make sure that we have a government that answers to the people first.
“I look forward to what we can do for the American people. We have a lot of work to do. Let’s put everything in for our country.”