Pakistani-American Dr Asif Mahmood wins California primary

Image Courtesy: @DrMahmood40

Likely to challenge Korean American Republican Young Kim in California’s 40th Congressional District in November

Pakistani-American Democrat Dr. Asif Mahmood is expected to challenge Republican incumbent Rep. Young Kim in the race for California’s newly drawn 40th Congressional District in the November 8 general election.

Mahmood and Kim, who flipped the seat in 2020, becoming one of the first Korean American women in Congress, held the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, as primary votes were counted Tuesday night.

Mahmood led the field with 40.1% votes followed by three Republicans, Kim with 34.4% Greg Raths with 24.2% and Nicholas Taurus with 1.3%.

Read: Latina Indian American Victoria Virasingh running for Congress from Virginia (May 3, 2022)

In California, all candidates for congressional or state offices run on the same ballot and the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Vote counts released late Tuesday in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties — all of which are touched by CA-40 — suggest that Mahmood and Kim will face off in November, according to Orange County Register.

And, if those results hold, Kim will have staved off a push from Raths, a conservative Republican councilman from Mission Viejo who has been hoping to edge out Kim and get into the November runoff, it said.

“I became a doctor because my parents taught me that helping others is our highest calling,” said Mahmood, who hails from Kharian, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“I am running for Congress because CA-40 needs leaders who wake up every day to solve problems and actually help families in our district,” he said.

Mahmood attended the Democratic Party of Orange County’s results watch party in Orange, as vote counts came in Tuesday evening.

Mahmood, a pulmonologist and doctor of internal medicine, has an MBBS degree from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Pakistan. He and his family have lived in Southern California since 1999.

In addition to his work as a physician, Mahmood has been a leader in non-profit and philanthropic organizations across Southern California.

He serves on the California Medical Board and on the board of the Valley Rescue Mission, the largest homeless shelter in Southern California. He is also the chair of the Organization for Social Media Safety that fights cyber-bullying and cyber-exploitation of children.

As the only Democrat in the primary, Mahmood who moved to Tustin for this campaign — was expected to get the most votes, the Register noted.

Mahmood’s performance in the primary, however, won’t offer a clear signal about what might happen if he ends up squaring off with Kim or one of the Republican challengers in November, since those three candidates are now splitting the Republican vote, analysts said.

If Kim advances, as early results suggest, experts predict she’ll narrowly hang onto her position. If Raths advances, Mahmood would have a much greater chance of flipping the seat, the Register said.

Read: California Primaries: Pakistani American Asif Mahmood Wins Democratic Nomination for U.S. Congress From 40th District (June 8, 2022)

Raths — a fighter pilot in the Marines for 30 years and a Mission Viejo councilman since 2014 — garnered 45.6% of the vote in 2020 when he made it to the general election against incumbent Democratic Rep. Katie Porter in a district that largely overlaps with the new CA-40. He lost that race by about seven points.

CA-40, one of the few swing seats in the country, with a population of 760,000 stretches from Rancho Mission Viejo north to Yorba Linda in Orange County, plus includes Chino Hills in San Bernardino County and a slice of Corona in western Riverside County

It was formed during redistricting in December, but includes portions of two former districts (CA-39 and CA-45) that have been swing seats in the past two elections.

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