A grim faced Young Kim took her place on the capitol steps Wednesday (Nov. 14) to have her picture taken along with the other first-time Congress members who had just won their Nov. 6 elections. She stood behind fellow Korean American Andy Kim (no relation), who had just been proclaimed the winner in his congressional race for New Jersey.
Republican Young Kim knew full well that her lead to represent California’s District 39 was tenuous. In the morning she led Democrat rival Gil Cisneros by only 122 votes. By the end of the day, Cisneros had taken the lead.
Young Kim, who was poised to become the first Korean American woman in Congress, got cold water splashed on her face Thursday morning as she learned, as the ongoing count of absentee and mail-in ballots in California’s 39th District (Orange County) showed her ahead of Democrat Gil Cisneros by the tiniest margin so far – 122 votes, according to figures released by election officials in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Cisneros trailed by 839 votes in counting completed Tuesday.
Kim, a former state assemblywoman and an aide to outgoing Rep. Ed Royce, led by nearly 4,000 votes when the polls closed on Nov. 6th.
Young Kim’s campaign also asserted that its candidate’s initial lead should be reflected in the results of the remaining mail-in and provisional ballots, adding that “anything falling significantly outside of those percentages could reflect foul play,” taking the apparent Republican position posed by Donald Trump in the close senatorial and governors races in Georgia and Florida.
A spokesman for the Orange County Registrar’s office told the Los Angeles Times no one had attempted to alter any ballots.
While Young Kim attended the orientation for first-time members of Congress in Washington, Cisneros stayed at home to monitor the vote counting.
Kim’s camp and Trump asserts that late votes are coming out of thin air with the implication that voter fraud is taking place. So what happened?
On Thursday at 4:01 p.m., Young Kim held a slim lead over Cisneros.
An hour later she had lost that lead.