Update: This story was updated at 3:40 on Wednesday, November 7th to include the most up to date polling information.
As of press time on Wednesday November 7th, the 39th Congressional District has still not been called, with candidate Young Kim holding 54.3 percent of the vote and her opponent Gil Cisneros taking 45.7 percent.
If Cisneros does not take the 39th Congressional District seat, the loss will ensure at least two more years of Republican dominance in the district. As Kim’s chances of victory steadily increased throughout the night, Cisneros and his supporters remained optimistic.
“There’s still a long way to go in this election. We aren’t going to know the results for a while but because of all the hard work and all of the support that has been given to me, I know that we’re going to do very well tonight,” Cisneros said. “I still feel really good that the results are going to be great and they are going to be in our favor.”
Cisneros said the 39th District has changed since the presidential election in 2016 when they voted for Hillary Clinton.
“It’s incredible to see the journey that this district has taken. Two years ago, during the last presidential election in 2016, a lot of people were woken up in this district,” Cisneros said. “We thought: If we could vote Democrat for president here in this district, why can’t we elect a member of Congress as well?”
As the ballots were counted, hope never left the Casa Bonita Event Center, where Cisneros was holding his campaign watch party. Volunteers, donors and family members remained in positive spirits awaiting the results of the hotly contested race.
Jacki Cisneros, Gil Cisneros’ wife, took the stage with confidence and appreciation for those who helped along the campaign.
“We are so appreciative as a family that everyone has embraced my husband. My father-in-law got to hear his son being endorsed by (former) President Obama. That does not happen in our family,” Jacki Cisneros said.
— Diane Ortiz (@diane_ortiz_) November 7, 2018
While the votes of the 39th District were being processed, those who attended the watch party celebrated wins of other Democratic candidates as the night went on.
“I feel really good. We’ve only got East Coast polls back so far for the most part, and we’ve already taken back the House. I think that’s a really encouraging sign,” said Cory Irwin, student outreach coordinator for the Gil Cisneros campaign and Cal State Long Beach alumnus.
As of 3:40 November 7th, the Democrats were officially able to take 222 seats in the House, which Irwin said he believes is monumental because it will allow for investigation into President Donald Trump.
“We can get some tax returns. We can see who’s investing Trump’s companies. There’s just so many things that Republicans have just failed to show the truth about. No matter which way they lean, I’m just excited to see what the outcome of those investigations is,” Irwin said.
Most of those at the watch party heard Gil Cisneros’ story many times. He served in the Navy for 10 years. He won the lottery and used his money to give back to his community. After the results of the 2016 election, he decided he wanted to make a change himself.
While it is unsure if Gil Cisneros will run again if he loses this election, Jonas Poggi, student organizer of the campaign and sophomore at the University of La Verne, said he is confident the Democrats of the 39th District have established a network of people in the district who care about the country.
“Even if Gil doesn’t run, I know that the good people of the 39th District will rally behind someone just as good as Gil is as a candidate,” Poggi said.
Even though the results were not announced on election night, Cisneros said he was proud of how the campaign went and that he believes it created a foundation for Democrats that will continue to grow.
“We have built something here that we are going to continue on for many years,” Cisneros said. “We are going to create a pipeline of Democratic candidates that are going to be able to run in all elections.”
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