WASHINGTON: An unprecedented 'desi' wave hit the US general elections as a record number of five Indian- Americans were all set to be elected to the US Congress today.
Indian-American women put up a good show in the 2016 elections, with Kamala Harris, 51, a two-term attorney general from California, creating history by winning the US Senate seat from the state.
Pramila Jayapal, 51, won the Congressional seat from Seattle to enter the House of Representatives, the first Indian-American woman to accomplish this feat.
Jayapal would be joined in the House of Representatives by Raja Krishnamoorthi, who made it to the highest citadel of democracy in their second attempt.
Ro Khanna and Ami Bera were leading in the race for the House of Representatives from their districts in California. With 56 per cent of the votes counted in California's Silicon Valley, Democratic Congressman Bera was leading with 54 per cent votes at 47,427, ahead of his Republican party rival Scott Jones who got 46 per cent votes.
If elected for the third successive term, Bera would become the longest serving Indian-American Congressman ever. Khanna, the democratic party candidate from California’s 17th District, was leading with 58 per cent votes at 50,952 after 72 per cent of the votes were counted.
His closest rival Mike Honda, also of the Democratic Party, had so far garnered 42 per cent of the votes. Interestingly, the outgoing US President Barack Obama had endorsed Harris, Krishnamoorthi and Bera. Senator Bernie Sanders and former US President Jimmy Carter had endorsed Jayapal.
Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, is the daughter of an Indian mother who emigrated from Chennai in 1960 and a Jamaican American father.
California Democrats had overwhelmingly endorsed Harris for US Senate, solidifying her front-runner status in the race to become California’s next Senator. Endorsing Harris, Obama had said "Kamala Harris fights for us. Thats why I am so proud to endorse her for United States Senator. And if you send her to the Senate, she'll be a fearless fighter for the people of California, all the people of California, every single day." Jayapal entered the US Congress on her maiden try.
Born in Chennai, she left India at the age of five for Indonesia, Singapore and eventually for the US. Jayapal says her life transformed for the better after she spent some time in India when she returned to the country after a gap of 25 years in April 1995. Her book-- "Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland" was published in 2000.