Washington: Indian-American physician Ami Bera has won the Congressional election from California in a tight race, becoming only the third from the community to make it to the US House of Representatives. Nearly 60 years after Dalip Singh Saund scripted history by becoming the first Indian-American to be elected to the House, Democrat Bera repeated the feat defeating incumbent Republican Dan Lungren in California's Seventh Congressional District.
While the counting of votes was still going on, local media projected Bera, 47, to have won the November 6 poll. The Sacramento County Registrar of Voters announced yesterday that Bera had increased his lead against Lungren and was now ahead by 2.2 per cent or 5,696 votes.
Bera's lead has widened with each new count. On November 6, Bera had a lead of just 184 votes, thus necessitating the counting of provisional and absentee ballots. This lead grew to 3,800 votes on Tuesday.
Latest update shows that "we've processed another 38,510 ballots since Tuesday's update. This leaves an estimated 7,782 vbm (vote-by-mail) and of course the 31,000 provisional ballots left to process," the County Registrar said. Next update is scheduled for Monday.
"It's increasingly clear that the voters of Sacramento County want new leadership that puts the people first. Our lead continues to widen and we are confident that this election will be resolved in our favour," Bera said in a statement. He is currently in Washington for an orientation course for new lawmakers, which incidentally is being led by Lungren.
Bera would only be the third Indian-American to have been elected to the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in the 1950s and Bobby Jindal in 2005 and 2008, who is now the Governor of Louisiana. Besides, Bera five other Indian Americans were in the race for a seat in the House of Representatives. All of them lost.
They were Ricky Gill and Jack Uppal from California, Syed Taj from Michigan, Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey. Except for Gill, who represents the Republican Party, the other five candidates were Democrats.