Young Kim and Josh Newman wins 29th and 39th district

Republican Young Kim has become one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress after taking back a congressional seat from Democrat Gil Cisneros in the 39th Congressional District, including Diamond Bar.

In the other high-profile local election, Josh Newman reclaimed the seat he lost when he was recalled in 2018 by defeating Ling Ling Chang in the state Senate race. 

Despite numerous advantages, such as being the incumbent and a member of the majority party in the district, Cisneros lost by more than 4,000 votes. Although it’s a close race, as it was in 2018, Kim’s 1.2 percent lead shows that much has changed in these past two years.

Cisneros, a former naval supply officer, was not a politician before 2018. Instead, he was known for his philanthropy after winning $266 million in the lottery. 

Nevertheless, his political views appeal to the Democratic voters that dominate the district. Two years ago, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation endorsed him as their “pro-choice champion,” and the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund added him as a Gun Sense Candidate.

These were the policies that helped him win in 2018, but in 2020, the constituents’ minds are elsewhere. With the $4 million he raised for this year’s election, Cisneros ran television advertisements that emphasized his plans to protect small businesses during quarantine and support veterans.

His challenger, Kim, on the other hand, has much more political experience. Before Kim started her campaign for Congress, she was known for her efforts to protect domestic violence victims as an assemblywoman, authoring a bill to protect its victims that garnered overwhelming bipartisan support.

Kim’s $5 million-campaign has focused on highlighting her immigrant status and belief in the American Dream. She was also endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee–which is the largest and oldest pro-life anti-abortion committee in the United States–and the National Rifle Association.

This election season, both candidates have centered their attention on the ongoing pandemic. Cisneros has hosted over 20 COVID-themed town hall meetings and backed paycheck protection programs to help businesses survive despite the suffering economy and ongoing business restrictions. 

Similarly, Kim calls for a bipartisan effort to address COVID-19 recovery and hopes to lower the overall cost of insurance and prescriptions in order to battle the virus. She has also been hands-on during the pandemic, helping coordinate volunteers to distribute PPE to frontline medical workers.

In line with their parties, Cisneros supports universal health care, funding for planned parenthood, LGBTQ rights and affordable education. While Kim plans to address the homeless crisis, increase school funding for STEM and immigration reform through strict rulings.

Though she is a Republican and supported President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, Kim stated that she disagrees with many of Trump’s policies. Some of these include tax cuts under his administration and his opposition to Obamacare. 

She also criticized Trump over his use of the term “Kung-flu” as hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to rise. However, her views on Trump have split Republicans. 

Although they have different viewpoints, both Cisneros and Kim are considered moderate on the political spectrum.

In the 29th Senatorial district, another incumbent is defeated as Newman has declared victory against Chang.

Chang served in the California State Senate, representing the 29th District. She initially lost the 2016 election but was elected in 2018 after Newman was recalled because he voted for a controversial bill that increased the gas tax.

In terms of campaigning, Chang said that her chief focus in a second state senate term would be economic recovery, which includes helping local businesses reopen safely amidst the pandemic. She also wants to combat homelessness through tax breaks for renters and a focus on mental health.

Newman has said he plans to improve renewable energy, reduce wildfire risks and tackle higher education’s affordability. In addition to these, he also said that much of his second term would be used to address the repercussions of COVID-19.

As for voting records, both adhere closely to their parties’ ideals. During Chang’s two years in office, she has voted against bills on health coverage for undocumented immigrants, gun control, increasing the minimum wage and greenhouse gas reduction. 

Conversely, Newman voted yes to improve immigration rights, establish air-quality regulations and the infamous gas tax that led him to become the first state senator to be recalled since the 1910s.

Both incumbents have congratulated their opponents and ensured a smooth transition of power.