In an impressive show, all the four Indian-American Democratic lawmakers — Dr. Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi — have been re-elected to the US House of Representatives during the elections held on November 3rd, 2020.
In recent years, the fast growing Indian-American community has emerged as a force to reckon with for the first time in the history of the US presidential election. Both the Democrat and the Republican campaigns had initiated several measures to woo the approximately 1.8 million members of the community who have emerged as a critical voting bloc in the battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Meanwhile, in one of the most-watched races of the 2020 election, Indian American Sara Gideon of Maine narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins and failed to flip the seat from red to blue as Democrats struggled to gain control of the Senate. Mainers largely consider themselves Independents. But on Nov. 3 evening, Gideon secured 46 percent of the votes — 338,617 votes — to Collins’ 51 percent: 407,884 votes.
“I have always worked hard to find our shared goals. That doesn’t stop. In fact, it’s more important now. We have to work together to build a better future,” said Gideon, focusing on prioritizing an economy that builds good jobs for working class people, and tackling climate change. “I’m proud of the campaign we ran,” said the candidate.
Democrats flipped two Senate seats on election night: in former red state Arizona, astronaut Mark Kelley beat out incumbent Martha McSally. In Colorado, John Hickenlooper, the state’s former governor, defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner. Republicans flipped one Senate seat, as Tommy Tuberville in Alabama defeated Democrat Doug Jones.
In House races, Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California serving the 17th Congressional District in Northern California’s East Bay, handily beat Republican challenger Ritesh Tandon to gain a third term in the House. The incumbent won 74 percent — 125,258 votes — while Tandon amassed 26 percent of the vote: 43,775.
“I am so honored and humbled by the overwhelming victory,” Khanna told India-West. “I am proud to represent our community and look forward to working to help bring people together after this divisive chapter in our nation’s history,” he said.
Democrat physician Ami Bera, the longest-serving Indian American in the House, won his re-election bid for California’s CD 7 seat — which represents portions of Sacramento — against former U.S. Air Force pilot, Republican Buzz Patterson. Bera won by 61 percent, 116,437 votes, while Patterson received 39 percent.
“It’s been an honor to represent the people of California’s 7th Congressional District and I am grateful for the trust voters have placed in me once again,” Bera said in a statement Nov. 3 night. “We face many difficult challenges ahead, including ending this pandemic, ensuring affordable and quality health care for every American, and growing our economy for working families,” he said.
“However, we can rise to the occasion and meet these challenges head on, as we’ve done generation after generation before. It will take hard work, empathy, and working across party lines to build compromise. I promise that I will continue to be a leader that puts people over politics to make government work for the people of Sacramento County,” said Bera, who won his 5th term.
Democrat Rishi Kumar failed to win his bid against fellow Democrat Anna Eshoo, who has represented California’s 18th Congressional District — in portions of the Silicon Valley — since 1993. Eshoo won with just under two-thirds of the vote, more than 65 percent, while Kumar received 34 percent, more than 79,000 votes.
Another newcomer, physician Hiral Tipirneni, a Democrat, failed to beat Republican incumbent David Schweikert in Arizona. The red state delivered one of the few surprises of election night, turning blue for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket. In a virtual press conference Nov. 4 morning, Tipirneni acknowledged that the race was too close to call. She thanked voters for showing up in record numbers and for encouraging family and friends to vote.
“This is exactly where we wanted to be at this point in the race. This is a trajectory that will lead to victory,” she said. “We know we’ve done very well with Independents and cross-over votes, but we will wait to declare victory until every ballot is counted.
In Washington state, Rep. Pramila Jayapal overwhelmingly won her bid for re-election, capturing almost 85 percent: 344,541 votes. “Wow, we did it decisively! Thank you #WA07. I am humbled, grateful and ready to serve again. Our path to truly build a more just and equitable country is long. But we are bold, progressive & unafraid, and if we believe in the possible & organize, we WILL win,” tweeted Jayapal, who was running for her third term in the House.
In Illinois, Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi also handily won his re-election bid against Libertarian Preston Nelson. Krishnamoorthi won with almost 71 percent of the vote: 146,495 votes. “I am honored that my constituents have elected me to represent them in Congress for another two years, and I am tremendously grateful to all my supporters who helped make my re-election possible,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement Nov. 3 evening.
“Today, our country faces enormous and unprecedented economic and public health challenges. No matter who controls the White House or the Senate in January, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to bring the country together to implement common-sense solutions that move our country and our people forward.”