California Indian-American candidates advance to November’s general election

indica News Bureau-

Super Tuesday’s California primary was good news for several Indian American candidates

Incumbent Rep. Ami Bera, Democrat of Elk Grove, captured the top spot in California’s 7th Congressional District, as he moves on in his quest for re-election to  a fifth term in Congress, according to unofficial results. Republican Robert “Buzz” Patterson took a decisive second in the early vote counting.

In California’s 17th Congressional District, Ro Khanna, the incumbent Democrat and a former U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary, scored the most votes in the primary, followed by Republican Ritesh Tandon, a businessman who is running for office for the first time.

Tandon was pleased with yesterday’s results, telling indica the success of his low-budget campaign was no surprise.

“I have worked hard, ran the on community issues,” Tandon told indica. “My next target is to work on the growing homelessness, traffic congestion and green card backlog issue,; Tandon said, adding that he feels bad that he’s been accused of running an Islamophobic campaign.

This past summer Khanna faced controversy after he joined the Pakistan caucus and tweeted on Aug 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist(s) and Christians.”

In a September interview with indica, Khanna defended his position.

“They [members of the Indian community] respect the work I have done on strengthening defense ties between the US and India and also for diplomacy,” Khanna told indica in September. “Our approval rating in the district is 78 percent favorable, the highest of any Santa Clara or Alameda County politician. I have the overwhelming support of the Indian American community and am very proud of it.”

California uses a top-two primary  system, with all candidates appearing on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters move on to the general election.

In California’s District 18, Democrat Rishi Kumar, another first-timer running for the US Congress, took the second place and would advance to November’s general election ballot.

Another first-timer is Republican Nisha Sharma, who’s running for Congress in District 11, made it through to November by taking second place, in early results.

State offices

The lone Indian American candidate running for California State Senate, Modesto Councilman Mani Grewal, a Democrat, in District 5, was trailing in third place in early results, and if he finished in that place he will not advance to November.

In early results in Assembly District 20, Vipan Singh Bajwa, Democrat, was trailing three other candidates and not eligible for November’s ballot, according to unofficial results.

California Assembly District 25 first-timer Natasha Gupta, Democratic, didn’t make in thorough to November either, based on early results.

Assembly District 27 Democratic incumbent Assembly member Ash Kalra was the top vote-getter in a two person primary and will be on November’s general election ballot.

In the California’s State Assembly 29th District, Indian-American physician Dr. Shomir Banerjee, a Republican, trailed Democratic incumbent Mark Stone in the primary, and the two will both be on the November ballot.

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