WASHINGTON: More than a dozen Indian-Americans, including five women, have won state-level elections, marking a first for the community in many instances.
This is in addition to the four Indian-Americans elected to the US House of Representatives: Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi. At least three other races, including one for the US House of Representatives, are yet undecided.
The five women elected to state legislatures are Jenifer Rajkumar to the New York State Assembly, Nima Kulkarni to the Kentucky State House, Kesha Ram to the Vermont State Senate, Vandana Slatter to the Washington State House and Padma Kuppa to the Michigan State House.
Niraj Antani has been declared elected to the Ohio State Senate, while Jay Chaudhuri has been re-elected to the North Carolina State Senate. Amish Shah has been elected to the Arizona State House, Nikil Saval to the Pennsylvania State Senate, Ranjeev Puri to the Michigan State House and Jeremy Cooney to the New York State Senate. Ash Kalra has been re-elected to the California State Assembly for the third consecutive term. Ravi Sandill has won the District Court Judge polls in Texas.
Kesha Ram is the first woman of colour elected to the Vermont State Senate, Nikil Saval is the first Indian-American elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Jenifer Rajkumar is the first South Asian woman elected to the New York state office and Niraj Antani is the first Indian American elected to the Ohio Senate.
“This year’s election represented a giant leap forward for the Indian-Americans’ role in US politics,” said Neil Makhija from the Impact Funds, which had raised a whopping $10 million during this election cycle and endorsed a large number of Indian American candidates.
“Indian-American voters and candidates demonstrated the burgeoning power and influence of this important voting bloc in decisive fashion, which will help make the difference in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania,” he added.
Makhija said the election featured a record number of Indian American candidates running in key state and federal races across the country, as well as the first Indian American to be on a presidential ticket, in vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
The USD 10 million raised by Impact Funds were invested in the presidential, state-wide, and congressional races in battleground states, including nearly USD 2 million apiece in Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, it said.
Around 20 lakh Indian American voters exercised their franchise in this year’s election. According to the Center for American Progress, Indian Americans register and vote at higher rates. This election cycle, there were nearly five lakh Indian American voters in the battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Dr Hiral Tipirneni is leading by a narrow margin for the US House of Representatives seat in Arizona. The two other undecided races at the state level feature Rupande Mehta for the New Jersey State Senate and Nina Ahmad for Pennsylvania Auditor General.
Four Indian Americans, including two women, lost Congressional races. They are Sri Preston Kulkarni from Texas, Manga Anantatmula from Virginia and Nisha Sharma and Ritesh Tandon from California. Indian-origin politicians Sara Gideon and Rik Mehta lost the Senate race from Maine and New Jersey respectively.