Indian American Anita Malik wins Arizona 6th district Democratic congressional primary

Anita Malik. Credit: Twitter.

The tech executive becomes 11th Indian American — and second from Arizona — to be on ballot in the November midterm elections.

Indian American tech executive Anita Malik has won the Democratic party primary in Arizona’s 6th congressional district.

She is the 11th Indian American to win the nomination of one of the two major parties in the midterm elections. All but one are Democrats.

Malik will face GOP Rep. David Schweikert, who won the Republican primary unopposed, on November 6.

The primary in Arizona was held last Tuesday, but the 6th district race was too close to call on the election night, with Malik leading her nearest rival Heather Ross by a narrow margin of 383 votes.

But, as the absentee ballots were counted and certified, the Indian American’s lead grew to 2,402, according to the official results posted on the Maricopa County Recorder website.

Malik, who quit her job as the chief operating officer of the tech startup ClearVoice to run for Congress, was declared the winner on Friday.

According to the official tally, Malik received 22,522 (42.04 percent) votes, while Ross received 20,120 (37.55 percent) votes.

“I am proud that my campaign reflected a broad, grassroots coalition of Arizonans who came together to support our vision of creating jobs and ensuring the ability of families to work, live, and thrive in the 6th congressional district,” Malik said in a statement posted on her Twitter account Friday.

“Arizonans deserve someone who will work hard to represent them and build a stronger future for our community, our state and our country,” she added. “As the daughter of immigrants — people who believed in the promise of American — I want to help everyone have that opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.”

Close race expected

The district is a Republican stronghold, won by President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. In the prior four presidential elections, the Republican nominees had carried the district with margins ranging from 21 percent points to 29 percentage points.

Schweikert, who first won the district in 2012, won by nearly 25 percentage points in 2016.

But this November, with a possible Democratic wave on cards, the race is expected to be a lot closer.

The Cook Political Report has deemed the district as a “Republican Leaning” seat. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball also rates the district as “Likely Republican.”

Malik is the second Indian Democrat from Arizona to be on the ballot in November. Last Tuesday, fellow Democrat Hiral Tipirneni had won the second congressional district primary unopposed.

Across the country, as of now at least 11 Indian Americans have been elected as the nominees of one of the two major parties for the midterm. They include four incumbent congressmen: Reps Ami Bera, D-CA; Ro Khanna, D-CA; Pramila Jayapal, D-WA; and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL.

The other candidates are Aftab Pureval (Ohio’s first district), Sri Preston Kulkarni (Texas 22nd district), Chintan Desai (Arkansas 1st district), Jitendra ‘J.D.’ Diganvker (Illinois 6th district) and Sanjay Patel (Florida 8th district.)

Diganvker, who is facing Krishnamoorthi, is the only Indian American Republican.

As soon as her victory was announced, Malik quickly went on the general election campaign mode. Focusing on corruption, which is likely to be a major midterm issues, she tweeted: “Indictments, corruption, and ethical violations are the norm in today’s Congress. I’ll fight to root out corruption and enact higher ethical standards, starting with our own district. ”

On Labor Day, she tweeted in support of workers: “Today we honor those who have built this country. It’s a strong reminder of the course correction the country needs to bring our voices back to the table. The future of work is already here, it’s time to move boldly and swiftly to protect and support American workers.”

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Malik’s family moved to Arizona when she was 7. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in computer information systems and finance from Arizona State University.

She also has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.

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