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Indian-American closer to winning Silicon Valley in US polls

world Updated: Jun 05, 2014 18:29 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Ro Khanna

Indian-American Ro Khanna on Tuesday advanced to the general election, a step closer to representing Silicon Valley, the world's tech hub, in the US House of Representatives.

He finished second behind incumbent Mike Honda, but under California state's unique primaries format of top-two-take-all he goes through. They are both Democrats.

Neel Kashkari, the other Indian-American running in California for the post of governor, also appeared headed for a second finish, but his fight was still too close to call.

Sitting governor Jerry Brown was way ahead, and is widely expected to win, and comfortably. But a second position will give Kashkari, a Republican, a shot at the job.

Indian American Ro Khanna who won in the primary elections to the US House of Representatives.(Photo

With these results, at least four Indian-Americans will be running in the general elections in November — the others being Representative Ami Bera and candidate Manan Trivedi, both Democrats.

It's the Khanna-Honda contest for Congressional District 17, however, that will be followed most closely having enthralled pundits and media already and billed as the race to watch.

Khanna, a 37-year-old former Obama administration official, has run an aggressive campaign consistently out-raising the experienced Honda, 72.

Leading Silicon Valley figures such as Yahoo's Marissa Myers, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, investor Kanwal Rekhi have backed him, and contributed to his campaign.

Both Khanna and Honda claimed victory late Tuesday night.

"I'm incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support that my candidacy has received," said Khanna.

Honda's campaign pointed to the victory margin to claim voters 'overwhelmingly prefer" the Congressman to the challenger.

Honda led Khanna by 24 points late Tuesday night.

Neel Kashkari, another Indian American, running in California for the post of governor.(Photo

Republican Vanilla Singh, the second Indian-American in the race for District 17, finished third, ending a campaign that was never able to establish her as a serious contender.

With over 50% of votes counted, incumbent governor Brown, 76, was way ahead in the gubernatorial race in California winning over 55% of the votes. Kashkari, 40, was a distant second.

But that will guarantee him a place on the November ballot, which is not a mean achievement for a candidate who looked in all sorts of trouble till quite recently.

Kashkari trailed rival Tim Donnelly, also a Republican, for much of the race, and was forced to dip into his personal wealth to keep his campaign going, a sure sign of trouble.

But he had begun pulling ahead in recent weeks, with latest polls showing him ahead of Donnelly.

Kashkari stayed ahead by three or four points for most of the result night.