California's Sacramento County Registrar of Voters yesterday announced that Dr. Ami Bera increased his lead to 1,779 votes against incumbent Dan Lungren of the Republican Party for the California?s Seventh Congressional District seat.
Dr Bera if elected, would be only the third Indian American to have ever been elected to the US House of Representatives the other two being Dalip Singh Saund, in the 1950s, and Bobby Jindal, in 2005 and 2008, who is now the Governor of Louisiana.
As of last afternoon, Dr Bera had received 105,244 votes (50.43 per cent) against 103,466 votes (49.57 per cent) received by Lungren. With 208,000 votes counted, he is leading by nearly one percentage point.
The Sacramento County would continue processing and counting of provisional ballots next week. Officials said it is too early to determine, when the entire process would be over. The election results would be updates Tuesday.
When polls closed on November 6 and the counting of votes were completed that night, Dr Bera, whose parents migrated from India more than 50 years ago, had a slender lead of 184 votes; as a result of which result of the election was put on hold and authorities initiated the process of counting of provisional and absentee ballots.
"This is still a close race, but we remain confident that the voters of Sacramento County voted for new leadership that puts the people first," Dr Bera said in a statement. So far Lungren, a Republican stalwart, has refused to concede the election. In 2010 Congressional elections, Lungren had defeated Dr Bera by seven percentage points
Endorsed by charismatic Bill Clinton, Dr Bera ran a highly successful grass root campaign and outraised Lungren in fundraising. Clinton campaigned for him twice during the election season.
Notably Lungren is head of the Congressional committee,which welcomes newly elected representatives to the Washington. "You have the question of, if it continues to be a very close race, whether there's a recount. I'd rather have these things done right away. But the reality is it's going to take some time," he was quoted as saying by FOX40.
The race between Dr Bera and Lungren is said to be one of the most competitive races in the country. Besides, Dr Bera five other Indian Americans were in the race for a seat in the House of Representatives, but none of them could make it, the elections for which were held on November 6. They were Ricky Gill and Jack Uppal from California, Dr Syed Taj from Michigan, Dr Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey. Except for Gill who represents the Republican Party, the other five candidates were from the Democratic Party.