Washington – In a sprawling California congressional district that includes some of the nation’s richest farmland and part of one of its poorest cities, a first-time candidate, a Cambodian-American woman, is taking on a well-entrenched Democrat, a white man.
Neither reflects the 16th District’s majority, the 58 percent of residents who identify as Hispanic or Latino. Slightly over 25 percent identify as white, like Rep. Jim Costa, the Democratic incumbent, and only 8.6 percent are Asian, like Elizabeth Heng, the Republican challenger. Blacks and others make up the remaining chunk of voters.
Republican Heng, 33, a graduate of Fresno public schools, Stanford and Yale universities, aims to flip the district, long dependably Democratic. “I truly believe that we need new voices with fresh perspective to fight for our community,” said Heng in an interview with VOA Khmer.