WASHINGTON: Ami Bera has been re-elected to the US House of Representatives for a third consecutive term in a close election with his win taking the total number of Indian-Americans elected to the Congress to a record five.
Bera, 51, would be joined by three first-time Indian-American lawmakers in the US House of Representatives — Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, Pramila Jayapal from Washington State and Ro Khanna from California.
This is the first time that the House would have four Indian-American members. Another Indian-American Kamala Harris has been elected to the US Senate.
Bera, who was the only Indian-American in the Congress in his previous term, defeated Republican Sacramento County sheriff Scott Jones.
Bera was projected to be declared elected after Sacramento County Registrar of Votes announced the latest update of its counting of ballots.
According to this, Bera’s lead over his Republican rival Scott Jones grew to more than two per cent, with 129,064 votes to 123,056 in the Congressional Seventh District of California.
With Bera’s victory, he ties the record for the most consecutive terms served by an Indian-American in Congress, held by Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, who served three terms from 1957-1963.
In both 2012 and 2014, Bera won by 9,191 and 1,455 votes respectively, after several days of counting.
In the run up to the polls, Bera was endorsed by US President Barack Obama.
“It has been my honour to serve this community first as a doctor and for these past four years as a member of Congress. I am incredibly thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who knocked doors and made phone calls during this campaign because they believe in standing up for women’s access to healthcare, protecting Medicare and social security and ensuring all of our Veterans receive the benefits they have earned,” Bera said.
“After months of a divisive national election, our job now is to bring our country back together,” he added.
In 2012, Bera led Republican Dan Lungren by 184 votes the morning after election day, and his lead eventually grew to 9,191 votes.
In 2014, Bera was down by more than 3,000 votes on election night, and he came back to win by 1,455 votes.
Saund was the first Indian-American elected to the US Congress. He represented the 29th Congressional District of California for three terms from January 3, 1957, to January 3, 1963.