Ghazala Hashmi will be one of the two Indian Americans on ballot in the November elections. Her 10th Senate District is a key pickup opportunity for Democrats, who need to flip two seats to gain majority.
Indian American educator Ghazala Hashmi has won the Democratic primary for the Virginia State Senate’s 10th district.
She defeated Eileen M. Bedell by more than 900 votes on Tuesday.
Hashmi received 5,245 (49.4 percent) votes, while Bedell received 4,344 (40.92 percent), according to official results posted on the website of the Virginia Department of Elections.
Hashmi is the second Indian American Democrat to secure party’s nomination for the November 5 elections. Former White House Technology Policy Advisor Suhas Subramanyam won the primary in 87th District of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Hashmi thanked her supporters on her Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon.
“I have received so many kind, thoughtful, and generous messages of support and congratulations,” she wrote. “I truly wish that I could respond to each of them personally. Thank you for reaching out; thank you for your expressions of excitement for the campaign; and thank you for all that you individually did to make it successful.”
Hashmi, who left the shores of India half a century ago, will face incumbent Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant.
The 10th District, which consists of Powhatan County and parts of the state capital of Richmond and Chesterfield County, is a great pick-up opportunity for the Democrats. In 2015, Sturtevant won by fewer than 1,500 (0.66 percent) votes.
The district voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections by more than 10 percent points. In the 2017 gubernatorial elections, Democratic Gov. Ralp Northam won by a similar margin.
Hashmi, who has worked with within Virginia’s college and university system for more than 25 years, will become the first Indian American and Muslim American woman to serve in the Virginia Senate, if elected.
Democrats need to capture two seats to flip the 40-seat Virginia seat, currently in the hands of Republicans.
During the primary, she campaigned on education, work force development, healthcare, environmental protections and broadband access.
“Providing quality public education for all Virginia families is our shared social responsibility,” Hashmi says on her website. “Regardless of socio-economic status, children have a right to public educational institutions that are supportive and that nurture intellectual curiosity and creativity. Virginia has every capacity to be a national leader in providing access to high quality public education.”
The Midlothian, VA, resident currently serves as the Director of Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
Hashmi has a bachelor’s degree in English from the Georgia Southern University and a Ph.D in English from Emory University.
Impact Fund congratulates Hashmi and Subramanyam
The Indian American Impact Fund, which had endorsed both Hashmi and Subramanyam, congratulated the two nominees.
“We were proud to have endorsed Dr. Ghazala Hashmi and Suhas Subramanyam in their primaries and we look forward to supporting them in general election to ensure that they become the first Indian American representatives to serve in the Virginia state legislature,” Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of Impact Fund, said in a statement. “We thank candidates Veena Lothe and Ibrahim Moiz for their courage to run. While they did not prevail, they have inspired countless other individuals and we hope that they will run again.”
Raj Goyle, co-founder of Impact and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives, added: “In a time when Americans are being ambushed by divisive dialogue, Dr. Ghazala Hashmi and Suhas Subramanyam are exactly the kind of representatives we need that will work to bring inclusiveness, compassion, and experience to the Virginia General Assembly.”