Republican Cambodian-American candidate Elizabeth Heng lost her bid to unseat the Democratic incumbent Jim Costa for California’s 16th district in the midterm elections on Tuesday.
Costa, a seasoned politician, beat Heng 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent, according to the State’s primary results.
“My campaign was not for myself, but for the people of this valley, because I believed – and still believe – that we deserve better solutions to the issues we face,” Heng tweeted in a conceding message. “We’ve fought a hard battle this election season, but the fight does not stop here.”
Heng’s campaign focused on restoring water infrastructure, better healthcare, and a “real solution” to immigration, which she claimed her opponent’s failure to deliver on in his 14 years in office. It has been a Blue district for over 40 years. The 16th district includes Fresno, Merced, and Madera.
Heng, 33, is a graduate of a Fresno public school, and Stanford and Yale universities.
Costa, 66, has represented the district since 2013. He began his political career in 1978 in the California State Assembly, before moving to the State Senate, and from 2005 to 2013, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for California's 20th District, part of which moved into the 16th when district borders changed.
The 16th Congressional District has one of the lowest median household incomes -- $43,839 -- in California, where the statewide median household income is $63,783, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
A majority of the residents are Hispanic or Latino, comprising 58 percent. Slightly over 25 percent identify as white and only 8.6 percent are Asian.