- In the state’s newly drawn 16th District, Saratoga City Councilmember Rishi Kumar lost to longtime Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo.
It is still uncertain if the U.S. Congress will get another South Asian American member in Dr. Asif Mahmood. The Democrat is locked in a tight race against Republican Rep. Young Kim in California’s 40th Congressional District.
With 50 percent of the votes counted, the Pakistani American pulmonologist has 69,599 or 40.9 percent of the votes, while Kim is leading with 100,621 or 59.1, The New York Times data revealed as of this morning. Kim is “clearly favored” to win against Mahmood “in a district that has Republicans about 20,000 registered voters ahead of Democrats,” according to election forecaster FiveThirtyEight.
Kim hasn’t declared victory, and Mahmood hasn’t conceded. This morning, he stated on Twitter, calling for every ballot to be counted. “With more ballots to be counted, we believe there’s a path to victory,” he wrote. “We are committed to see every vote to be counted through because the stakes of this election are way too important.”
Redistricting moved Kim to friendlier territory but tasked her with reintroducing herself to a new constituency. The Los Angeles Times reports that “though Kim, who lives just outside the district, in La Habra, is running as the incumbent, this district was among the most changed in the redrawing of congressional maps after the 2020 census.” The new 40th District covers eastern Orange County, from Yorba Linda to Rancho Mission Viejo, plus Chino Hills in San Bernardino County. “It was formed during redistricting in December, but includes portions of two former districts (CA-39 and CA-45) that have been swing seats in the past two elections,” as reported by the Orange County Register.
Meanwhile, in the state’s newly drawn 16th Congressional District, Saratoga City Councilmember Rishi Kumar lost to Rep. Anna Eshoo, the longest-serving Congress member representing portions of Santa Clara County. With 49 percent of the votes in, Eshoo had 59.7 percent of the votes, compared to Kumar’s 40.3 percent, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal.
In the 17th Congressional District, Ro Khanna was re-elected to a fourth term. He defeated a familiar opponent, Republican Ritesh Tandon.
Mahmood was raised in rural Pakistan and became the first student from his village to attend medical school. After receiving his degree in 1987, he completed his residency at the University of Kentucky and moved to Southern California in 1999. He has said his life has been guided by a principle taught by his parents: that helping others is the highest calling. He says he has exemplified this tenet by not asking for payment from patients who don’t have insurance.
He unsuccessfully ran for state insurance commissioner in 2018. If elected to Congress, Mahmood says, his top legislative priorities would be fighting inflation; lowering the costs of healthcare, prescription drugs and education; reducing taxes for the middle class; protecting reproductive rights; implementing “common-sense” gun safety laws and increasing workforce training.
A practicing physician for internal medicine and pulmonary diseases at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena since 2000, he was previously chief of staff at the Greater El Monte Hospital. Mahmood is a member of the board of directors of the East Los Angeles College Foundation and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, United States Western Region.
He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Sindh Medical College, now known as Jinnah Sindh Medical University in Karachi. He is married to Noshaba Mahmoud and they have three children.
In an interview before the general election, Rishi Kumar told the Los Altos Town Crier he ran for the race because he felt Silicon Valley is missing the perspective of someone in high-tech. “We have never had a tech-savvy leader in a million years of Silicon Valley, and I would fix that,” Kumar said. “We should focus hard on seeing how we can create jobs, how we can dominate the world with our technology – which we have done a fabulous job on, but China and India are eating our lunch and dinner.”
He works full-time in the Silicon Valley hi-tech industry and is a former IBM veteran. He holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Connecticut and is a Ph.D. dropout. He lives in Saratoga with his wife Seema, a networking industry professional, and their two sons.
Last election cycle, Kumar courted controversy when residents of the congressional district found lawn signs promoting Kumar they did not consent to be placed in their yards, Palo Alto Weekly reported at the time. They alleged that Kumar had “rude campaign volunteers who didn’t like taking ‘no’ for an answer,” the report added.
In December 2020, Kumar was denied his ceremonial turn as mayor for 2021 on the Saratoga City Council (which rotates annually among council members, as in Los Altos), with a fellow council member remarking that he was unsuitable for the job. A year earlier, “he was confronted during a city council meeting by a group for his affiliation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party, the Altos Town Crier noted, citing a report from Sikh24.com