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Four Indian-Americans advance to key November election races

Kamala Harris

Washington, June 4 (IANS) With their wins or second place finishes in California’s “jungle” primaries, four Indian-Americans – Neel Kashkari, Ro Khanna, Ami Bera and Kamala Harris – are set to compete in four key election races in November.

In California’s open or “jungle” primaries, top two finishers advance to the general elections irrespective of their party affiliation.

Kashkari, 48, a former Bush administration official, overcame rival Republican Tim Donnelly in the governor’s race late Tuesday night.

Kashkari, who ran the $700 million bailout program after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, was ahead of the tea party-backed Donnelly 18 percent to 15 percent when Donnelly conceded the race and called Kashkari to congratulate him.

Neither Republican came close to touching Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who led all challengers with 55 percent of the vote.

He will face Kashkari in November, according to Sacramento Bee.

Kashkari said in a prepared statement late Tuesday that he admired Donnelly for his “hard work and determination.”

“Beginning tonight, Republicans must come together, support one another and focus our energy on changing Sacramento,” he said.

Brown, 76, surpassed Earl Warren last year as California’s longest-serving governor. If he wins re-election, he will become the only California governor elected to four terms.

In California’s 17th District, known as Silicon Valley, which is the only Asian American-majority district in the US, Democrat Ro Khanna will take on fellow Democrat Mike Honda, who has been a member of the House since 2001.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Honda led with 49 percent, followed by Khanna, a former Obama administration official, at 27 percent, according to Politico.

Both Republican candidates, Indian American Vanila Singh and Joel Vanlandingham, failed to make the general: Singh was at 17 percent and Vanlandingham was at 7 percent.

Khanna entered the race more than a year ago and grabbed national attention with a team of former Obama campaign staffers and endorsements from big Silicon Valley tech CEOs and a series of big fundraising hauls, Politico said.

The lone Indian-American House member Democratic Ami Bera will face Republican Doug Ose in California’s 7th District in November.

Bera won 49 percent of the vote, and Ose won 26 percent, with 54 percent of precincts reporting in the Sacramento-area battleground district, according to Politico.

Bera defeated Republican House member Dan Lungren for the seat by three points in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried the district by four points.

California’s first female Indian-American and African-American Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is widely expected to seek higher office in coming years, easily outpolled her competitors.

Harris, a Democrat, had 54 percent of the votes in early returns. She faced four Republicans, each of whom received less than 14 percent in early returns.

Whoever among the four finishes second will face Harris.

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