The two Asian American candidates, Gina Ortiz Jones and Sri Preston Kulkarni, appeared to have failed in their bids to represent their Texas districts in Congress.
However, in District 23, the outcome is still not clear. Ortiz jones came agonizingly close to becoming the first Filipina American in Congress but lost by about 700 votes. The vote is close enough to warrant a recount but Ortiz Jones hasn’t made an announcement whether or not to request a recount.
By 3 a.m. in Texas, Jones’ final talley was 102,214. She was beaten by incumbent Republican Will Hurd’s 102,903.
For a moment before 3 a.m., with a reported 100% of the vote in, it appeared that Ortiz Jones had eked out a victory over Hurd by about 300 votes. Five minutes later, the final talley was revealed showing Hurd retaining his seat representing the 23rd District, a sprawling district that includes 820 miles of the Mexican-Texas border.
At her headquarters, Jones told her supporters that it was “an amazing opportunity to give voice to the issues that matter to Texans all across Texas 23.” This morning, Ortiz Jones has not officially conceded.
In her first bid for political office, she added: “So while it didn’t shake out the way we would want, we ran a campaign that we are proud of and that really reflected Texas values.”
Despite the close results, Hurd declared victory. Hurd, a self-described Republican moderate who voted against the GOP attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, told the Houston Chronicle that his victory showed that “you don’t have to exploit anger and fear to win an election.”
Hurd, one of only two Republican African Americans in Congress, thanked Jones and her supporters for “getting into the arena and engaging in the competition of ideas.”
Jones, 37, an Iraq War veteran and a security advisor in the Obama White House, was seeking to become the first openly gay member of Congress from Texas.
In District 22, incumbent Pete Olsen beat out his Democratic challenger Sri Preston Kulkarni, 152,318 votes to 137,500.
Kulkarni’s campaign was notable for his aggressive outreach to the large, but culturally and racially diverse, Asian American communities in the district.
“Probably the biggest challenge is getting to the people who aren’t being spoken to, by anybody, Democrat or Republican,” said the former foreign service officer.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff or submitting a story.