Update: This story was updated at 3:30 on Wednesday, November 7th to include the most up to date polling information.
After a heated congressional race over the past year, Young Kim was leading the polls Wednesday as of print time in the race to become the new representative for California’s 39th District.
If she wins she would be the first Korean-American women in Congress.
As of 3:30 on Wednesday November 7th, the 39th congressional district race has still not been called, with Kim holding 54.3% of the vote and Cisneros holding 45.7%.
“I’m dying to say I won, but I’m holding my tongue,” Kim said.
In June, the California primary narrowed the pool from 17 candidates to only Cisneros and Kim.
The campaign between the two was close throughout, and the marathon race that began in January was considered one of the nation’s key tossup elections.
This election will select the first newcomer to the 39th congressional seat in over two decades.
Ed Royce, the former representative for the district, has been in office for 25 years, and his decision to not run in the 2018 election early this year spurred a slew of candidates from both sides of the aisle.
Kim worked for Royce for over two decades, and served as the California state assemblywoman for the 65th District from 2014 to 2016.
While the 39th District historically favors Republican candidates, the district voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. This political climate made the 39th District a highly contested race, seeing both candidates gaining and losing the advantage in the polls since their nominations in June.
Kim’s election party was packed with several volunteers and donors, all watching the vote closely throughout the night.
“I love her values,” said Lori Cook, a Kim supporter whose church hosted the Republican candidate several months ago. “I love her transparency and her love for her country is very important as well.”
Ana Velasco, who helps represent the Latinos for Young Kim group, also said that many Latinos are voting for Kim because of her American success story.
“I think that she’s pretty much a mother, a person who came from another country, and now she’s become a U.S. representative,” Velasco said.
While the vote still hadn’t been called, Kim did come out and make a rousing speech to her supporters.
“I think that’s going to make a difference, God has a way of working in this election cycle, and he has really paved the way,” Kim said. “Our campaign has the momentum, and we’re going to win it. I just feel it.”
Kim commended and congratulated her opponent on a well-run campaign and appreciated the hard work Cisneros put into it.
“Despite all the millions of dollars that came out, this is one election that we can prove that we cannot buy ourselves into a seat,” Kim said regarding the total campaign contributions Cisneros had accumulated.
Cisneros campaign received around $11.1 million in contributions and loans, while Kim received $2.5 million.
Kim gave several thank-you’s to supporters in attendance, including her family, Congressman Royce, one of her “prayer warriors” David Lane of the American Renewal Project, college students that volunteered on the campaign and others.
“I ran to represent my family, my friends, my neighbors and the community with whom I’ve built a very strong, deep relationship over the years,” Kim said. “I think I can embody the meaning of achieving the American dream. America provided such a great opportunity for me and my family to succeed on our own.”
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