Monday, November 7, 2016

A record number of AAPI lawmakers could be elected to Congress

Either Roh Khanna, left, or incumbent Mike Honda will be Silicon Valley's Congressional representative.

By Louis Chan
REPRINTED FROM ASAM NEWS


AN ANALYSIS of the Congressional elections by AsAmNews has projected it’s possible, even likely, a record number of Asian/Americans will serve in Congress in 2017, tying or surpassing the record 12 Asian/Americans currently serving in Congress.

Thirty Asian/American candidates are running on the November ballot in congressional elections from California to New York, according to information compiled by the non-profit, non-partisan Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

Twenty-one of those candidates are Democrats, five are Republicans, two are Libertarians and one is a member of the American Shopping party.

First let's talk about the path to tying the record of 12 Asian/Americans currently serving in Congress (this excludes the two non-voting members of Congress from U.S. territories)

Ten of those running are incumbents. Two are facing tough races. Longtime Rep. Mike Honda is facing an extremely tough challenge from high-tech entrepreneur and Indian/American Ro Khanna in California’s Silicon Valley. Khanna narrowly defeated Honda in the primary, but under California’s open primary system, both democrats advanced to the general election. Although many thought Khanna would beat Honda, analysts are now saying the race is too close to call. The race is a rematch of the 2014 election which Honda won 52 percent – 48 percent.

With two Asian/Americans running against each other, in terms of number of AAPI elected officials, the race is a wash.


California Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento County) has narrowly won two Congressional elections and is going for a third term. This time he’s facing Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Bera is given the advantage of this race because Democrats outnumber Republicans in this district, but the race is expected to be a close one.

In the District 1 Congressional race in Hawaii, Colleen Hanabusa is running to replace the late Mark Takai who died of cancer. Hanabusa used to represent the district, but gave it up in a failed bid for the Senate. She is running against two other AAPIs, Republican Shirlene Ostrov and Libertarian Alan Yim.

In California, Kamala Harris is favored to win the U.S. Senate race to replace Barbara Boxer. The current California State Attorney General is running against Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove).

Harris would be the first Indian/American ever elected to the U.S. Senate and only the second Asian/American woman senator. Her victory could potentially give Asian/Americans a record tying 12 voting seats in Congress.

Here’s how Asian/Americans candidates could surpass 12 and set a new record.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth is running for U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent Mark Kirk. Illinois polls show Duckworth is the clear favorite to unseat the incumbent. Kirk didn’t help himself when he was forced to apologize for snide remarks he made about Duckworth’s family which many considered racist.

S Raja Krishnamoorthi is the Democrat running to replace Duckworth in the House of Representatives. The Chicago seat is considered safely Democrat due to the high number of registered Democrats in the district.

In addition there are three Asian/American Pacific Islanders running to be non-voting members of Congress from U.S. Territories.

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