Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula to vie for Rush Holt’s 12th Congressional District in New Jersey

Second attempt at the US House of Representatives.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: New Jersey State Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula has announced that he plans to run for Congress this year.

Upendra Chivukula
Upendra Chivukula

Chivukula, a Democrat, will vie for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Rush Holt, also a Democrat, who represents the state’s 12th Congressional District. Holt announcedon Tuesday that he will not seek re-election, choosing to leave his position after serving for eight terms.

RELATED STORY: Mukherji joins Chivukula in NJ Assembly; Mangipudi pulls off upset in New Hampshire polls

Chivukula currently represents the state’s 17th District in the State Assembly, but said that he wants to continue Holt’s work (and, more likely, keep a critical Democratic seat in the House of Representatives).

He’s not the only Democrat who’s contending for the now-open seat; four others have also thrown their name in for contention. Fellow Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is also planning to make a bid for the 12th District, as is state Senator Linda Greenstein of the 14th Legislative District. Brian Hughes, a business executive from Mercer County has said that he’s mulling over a possible run, his first since an unsuccessful effort back in 1992, and state Senator Shirley Lawrence is also considering mounting a campaign. The only Republican to voice an interest in Holt’s seat is former state Senator Alieta Eck.

RELATED STORY: Chivukula pays tribute to Guru Purnima

Chivukula’s current district covers Middlesex and Somerset counties, the latter of which is where he resides. The 12th Congressional District has all parts of those two counties, as well as Mercer and Union counties, under its purview – this also includes Princeton, Monroe Township, East Windsor, and South Brunswick.

An engineer by trade, Chivukula is no stranger to the game of politics. He comfortably won re-election to his current seat during last year’s elections. He was Deputy Mayor of the Franklin Township in 1998 and Mayor in 2000, and was first elected to the State Assembly in 2002. He previously ran for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District seat in 2012, but lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Leonard Lance.

RELATED STORY: Chivukula pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi

Chivukula is originally from Nellore, India. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Guindy Engineering College in Chennai, and his master’s degree in the same field from the City College of New York. He is also a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Virginia.

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