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US midterm polls: The desis who disappointed

By Aziz Haniffa
Last updated on: November 06, 2014 13:24 IST
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Democrat Amerish 'Ami' Bera

In the battle for the Silicon Valley, incumbent Democrat Ami Bera, only the third Indian-American in the House, was trailing to Republican businessman Doug Ose. Bera expressed confidence that he would erase Ose's lead.

In the Democrats-only tussle for a South Bay congressional seat too, Rohit 'Ro' Khanna, a former Obama administration official, who has challenged seven-term Democratic Representative Mike Honda of San Jose, refused to concede.

Iraq war veteran and Democrat Manan Trivedi tried his luck for the third time, but was trounced by Republican Ryan Costello, the Chester county commissioner for Pennsylvania's open seat in District 6.

California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday routed Republican challenger Neel Thushar Kashkari to win a historic fourth term. Aziz Haniffa reports
In a crushing blow to Indian American Democrats and the community as a whole in its political experience, the only Indian American in the US Congress, freshman Democrat Dr Amerish 'Ami' Bera, 49, was trailing to Republican businessman Doug Ose.

After a back and forth throughout Tuesday night when each candidate in California 7th Congressional Distrist led the other, with Bera leading Ose by a few hundred votes by 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent with 56 percent of the precincts reporting, ultimately when 100 percent of the precincts were tallied, Ose had got the better of Bera by 51.4 percent with 56.284 votes to 48.6 percent with 53,273 votes.

However, neither Ose declared victory nor Bera conceded defeat even though the California Secretary of State confirmed all election results.

Bera’s spokeswoman Allison Teixeira told, “We haven’t lost. There are still 60,000 votes to count -- vote by mail and provisional like last time.”

In 2012, Bera ultimately won by 2 percent and with about 10,000 votes, but it was nine days because the Secretary of State finally confirmed the result.

Democrat Rohit ‘Ro’ Khanna

Meanwhile, the Asian American iconic incumbent Mike Honda, a Democrat, also seemingly had got the better of fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, in California’s 17th District, which covers all of Silicon Valley, in a race which had divided the Indian American community.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Honda had received 52.2 percent and 41,480 votes to Khanna’s 47.8 percent and 37, 931 votes.

But Khanna was not conceding either and put out a statement saying ‘We feel good about the movement we are seeing in the ballots that have been counted tonight, and are confident that we will continue to gain as late absentee ballots are counted this week. We have been told that these ballots will be counted later this week.’ 

The Khanna camp said, ‘As a reminder, when the registrar reports ‘100% of precincts reporting’ that ONLY means that all Election Day votes have been reported. In the primary, late absentee accounted for 36 percent of the total vote share and Election Day votes only accounted for 19 percent. In the general election, 36.2% of the electorate voted as late absentee, which means that a huge amount of ballots are left to be counted.’

The challenger’s camp argued, ‘From the first early absentee results, Ro has gained 3.39 percent on Honda and only trails by 3,488 total votes. We are looking to our VBM program to pay off with late VBM ballots.’

‘Many ballots have not been counted and Ro is continuing to gain ground on Honda so this is far from over,’ the Khanna campaign added.

Iraq war veteran, Democrat  Manan Trivedi

The open seat in Philadelphia’s suburban district, consequent to Republican incumbent Jim Gerlach’s decision not to seek re-election, was won convincingly by fellow Republican Ryan Costello, who trounced Democrat Manan Trivedi by a margin of 56 to 44 per cent.

In 2010 and 2012, Trivedi was unsuccessful to unseat Gerlach, but this time around had expressed confidence that he could win and become the second Indian American physician -- after California Democrat Dr Ami Bera -- to be elected to the Congress.

Earlier this year, in an interview with, Trivedi spoke of his commitment and career to public service and declared that as an a Iraq War veteran, primary care physician and father, his agenda is designed to create economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.

“This election is an opportunity for the people of the 6th District to say no to political gridlock, and yes to ideas that strengthen and grow the middle-class. As a father, doctor in the community and Iraq War veteran, I'm tired of politicians who help themselves instead of the people they're paid to represent,” he said.

Trivedi had pledged, “As Congressman, I'll only answer to Pennsylvanians, not political insiders -- and work with local businesses to create jobs, provide strong support for public education so we prepare students to compete in a global economy, make sure we keep our commitment to our veterans and protect Medicare and Social Security for senior citizens.’

Asked why he was running for a third time when he had failed pretty badly in his first two attempts, Trivedi had said, “First of all, I’ve always been dedicated to this community and have a great desire to serve. But, frankly, the fact that this is now an open seat --there’s no incumbent as Gerlach is retiring and 90 per cent of the people who go against an incumbent lose -- you can get a fair shot at winning because voters will have an open mind about all the candidates.”

“I have the kind of track record to be looked at seriously by the voters now in an open seat,” he had said. 

Republican challenger Neel Kashkari

Meanwhile, California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown routed Republican challenger Neel Tushar Kashkari to win a historic fourth term. Brown, 76, built a huge lead over Kashkari, 41, the former Treasury Department official who administered the bank bailout known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program and came to be known as the 700-billion man, and after the Associated Press called the race, the San Jose Mercury News reported that Kashkari waited only eight minutes to call Brown and concede. Brown, who largely ignored Kashkari during the campaign, declared outside the governor's mansion after overwhelming his challenger, “Here in California, they called us a failed state. We are now showing the way.” Kashkari said,

“I have always known that a Republican defeating a powerful incumbent in California would be hard,” but obviously refusing to opt out of his debut as a politician, asserted, “I'm just getting warmed up.

” “While the outcome was not what I had hoped, I am incredibly proud of our campaign and what we accomplished to help our party. It won’t happen overnight, but we have laid the groundwork for a Republican comeback in California. We ran an inclusive campaign that reached out to all Californians and showed voters that we are the party that fights for everyone -- no matter what neighborhood they come from,” a statement said.

“Everyone I talked to throughout this campaign wanted the same thing: A good job and a quality education for their kids. We showed that these issues cut across political, racial, and geographic boundaries and we put them at the forefront of the discussion across the state,” it said.

“I am also proud that we did everything we could to help great Republicans up and down the ticket and spent nearly every weekend campaigning with terrific candidates who were walking the walk along with me. Together we showed Californians that Republicans care about the issues important to them and their families,” he said.

“This was always about blazing a trail for future Republicans to succeed in California. We have begun the process of rebuilding our party, and now it’s up to all of us to build on the foundation we have laid, the statement added. “I am thankful for all the support I received and am absolutely committed to continuing our fight to move our party and our state forward,” it said.

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