Chopra loses in VA race

Indian American quickly backs Northam.

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By American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: Indian American Aneesh Chopra’s bid to become the lieutenant governor of Virginia ended Tuesday, when he lost to State Sen. Ralph Northam in the Democratic Party primary.

Aneesh Chopra
Aneesh Chopra; photo by Bala Chandran

Chopra, a former White House technology czar, got more than 65,000 votes, while Northam polled more than 77,000 votes.

Chopra’s margin of defeat was more than eight and a half percent, a surprise considering the more than two-to-one fundraising advantage he had over his opponent. He had also won a series of straw polls.

Chopra, who lives in Arlington, was hoping to win by a big margin in the more populous Northern Virginia region, where there is a significant Indian American population. But unofficial results posted on the Virginia Board of Elections website shows that Chopra could not get not get the margin he expected from Northern Virginia. Official results will be announced Wednesday afternoon.

READ: Need to make sure that Virginia is a great place for everyone: Aneesh Chopra

While he won in Arlington County by more than 600 votes, the Indian American lost the neighboring Fairfax County, the most populous in the commonwealth comprising almost 14 percent of Virginia’s population, by nearly 2,000 votes.

Northam had a nearly 4,900-vote advantage in Norfolk city, his home turf. He also won decisively in Portsmouth City (more than 2,400 margin) and Virginia Beach (more than 1,900).

The 40-year-Chopra had run a very personal campaign, based on his stellar biography. He was the first chief technology officer of the U.S. government during President Obama’s first term. He also served as Virginia’s technology secretary under the Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

“I was very proud of my services as the President’s Chief Technology Officer and as Governor Kaine’s Secretary of Technology,” he told The American Bazaar in an interview last month. “During the time of my service, Virginia has been the best managed state, the best place for business, and the best place to raise a family.”

But Northam was too formidable an opponent. The only physician in the state senate, Northam had a huge following among pro-choice women especially after he led a fight against a Republican campaign to mandate ultrasound exams for those seeking abortion last year.

Around 9 pm Tuesday, Chopra tweeted congratulating Northam. “I’m looking forward to working together to win in November,” he wrote.

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