Indian-American Victories on Election Day

Indian-American Democratic candidates won in key races in New Jersey on Nov. 7, reports News India Times’ Ela Dutt.

Hoboken Council member Ravinder Bhalla won in the nonpartisan race for the mayoral seat being vacated by Dawn Zimmer. He will be the first turbaned Sikh mayor in the state and one of the first in the U.S. The American Bazaar added that Bhalla’s win comes after flyers had circulated in which the candidate was pictured under the headline: “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!”

The New Jersey Senate will have its first Indian-American legislator after Vin Gopal defeated Republican incumbent Jennifer Beck of District 11. The race was described as one of the most expensive and closely watched in the state. Dutt noted that few Indian Americans live in the central Jersey district but as Ritesh Shah, co-founder of the South Asian Registration Initiative, informed the reporter, “80 to 90 percent of Indian American voters in District 11 cast their vote, a historic high.”

State Assembly member Raj Mukherji, the only Indian-American member of the legislature, won his re-election bid to represent District 33, which includes Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken and parts of Jersey City.

Dutt described the significance of the New Jersey races for the Indian community.

New Jersey has the largest concentration of Indian-Americans in the country, and it has been a long held angst that they are not occupying the number of offices they should be compared to their population.

Hence, for Indian-Americans, the Nov. 7 elections in New Jersey where they contested up and down the ballot, it was a test watched keenly by the community nationwide as an example of whether they can make a breakthrough as a formidable force future politicians have to deal with.

Go to News India Times for more victories in the state, as well as how the election of Phil Murphy for governor is a “significant win for Indian-Americans” and why, according to Mukherji, the community still has “a long way to go from the minimum appropriate representation.”

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