Headline, Politics

Election 2022: Desi wave sweeps America in midterms

More than a score gets into state legislatures and win other elective offices

The Expected red wave may have turned pink in the midterm elections, but a blue Desi wave has swept more than a score South Asians into state legislatures and other elective offices.

Besides the expansion of the Samosa caucus — as Indian American lawmakers have nicknamed themselves — in the US Congress to five with the election of Indian American entrepreneur-turned-politician Shri Thanedar in Michigan, Hyderabad, India-born Aruna Miller made history by becoming the first Asian American and the first immigrant elected lieutenant governor of Maryland.

Read: Election 2022: Indian American voters hold the balance of power (November 8, 2022)

The four current members of the all Democrat Samosa caucus, Ro Khanna and Ami Bera (California), Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois) and Premila Jayapal (Washington) too cruised to re-election.

In the states, at least 16 Indian American “candidates won their critical midterm elections and are making history across the country!” according to Indian American Impact.

‘Once again, we saw that Indian American and South Asian American voters are one of the fastest-growing voting blocs in the nation, emphasizing what we already know: our power is growing,” Executive Director Neil Makhija wrote.

“On Nov 8, we once again made history. Thank you for helping us provide critical support and get our candidates over the finish line. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to continuing to make history in future elections,” he added.

Read: Election 2022: Desis galore running from Arizona to Wisconsin (November 6, 2022)

Winners included:

 Georgia

Nabillah Islam, Democrat, Senate District 7

Daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, Islam, 32, beat Republican Josh McKay to become the first-ever Muslim woman and the youngest woman to be elected to the Georgia Senate.

Farooq Mughal, State House, District 105, elected

A business leader and public policy expert, Mughal previously chaired the Gwinnett County Community Outreach Board.

Maryland 

Kumar Barve, Democrat State House, District 17 reelected.

Son of Indian American parents, Barve, 64, a finance analyst, was the first person of Indian descent to be elected to a state legislature in the United States in 1990.

Michigan

Sam Singh, Democrat, State Senate, District 28

beat Daylen Howard, Republican

Former East Lansing mayor, Sam Singh, was elected to the East Lansing City Council at the age of 24 and was elected as mayor in 2005. He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2013-18.

Ajay V. Raman, Democrat, Oakland County Commissioner, elected.

beat Robert Smiley, Republican

A physician, business owner and  first-generation Indian-American, Raman lost his maiden run as mayor of Novi, Michigan, to incumbent candidate Bob Gatt last year.

Ranjeev Puri, Democrat, State Senate District 21, reelected

beat John Anthony, Republican

The son of immigrants, Puri has worked  as a business manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and volunteered with South Asians of Michigan Organizing for Serious Actions (SAMOSA).

Illinois

Kevin Olickal, Democrat, State House, District 16

beat Vince Romano, Republican

Son of Malayali immigrant parents, Olickal, would be one of the first two South Asian Americans in the Illinois legislature. He is a part-time law student and the executive director of the Indo-American Democratic Organization.

Nabeela Syed, Democrat, State House, District 51, elected

beat Chris Bos, Republican incumbent

Syed 23, would be the youngest and one of the first South Asian Americans in the Illinois legislature. She has worked as an organizer with such groups as EMILY’s List to raise money to elect Democrats to Congress and has worked as a high school debate coach.

Iowa

Megan Srinivas, Democrat, State House, District 30, elected

beat Jerry Cheevers, Republican

An infectious disease physician, Megan Srinivas is contracted with Broadlawns Medical Center and works remotely for the University of North Carolina School for Medicine. She chaired Iowa’s Biden-Harris Covid Response Council in 2020.

Pennsylvania

Dr Arvind Venkat, Democrat, State House, District 30, elected

beat Cindy Kirk, Republican

An emergency room doctor at Allegheny General Hospital, Venkat will be the only physician and only person of South Asian descent in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly.

Tarik Khan,  Democrat, House District 194, elected

Khan, who had a career in nursing, beat incumbent Pam Delissio in May’s primary with political goodwill gained running a Covid-19 vaccination program and organizing against a natural gas plant in Nicetown

Texas

Monica Singh, Harris County Judge, elected

The Houston-born-and-raised Singh has been practicing law for 20 years. She heavily involved in numerous civil rights organizations at a local, state, and national level.

KP George, Democrat, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court
beat Trever Nehls, Republican. A judge since 2019, George was re-elected.

Juli Mathew, Democrat, Fort Bend County Court at Law No. 3
beat Andrew Dornburg, Republican

A judge for theFort Bend County Court at Law No. 3  since 2019, Mathew is the first Indian American woman elected to the bench in the US, and the first Asian American Judge in Fort Bend County.

Washington

Vandana Slatter, Democrat, State House District 48, reelected.

A former Bellevue City Council member, community leader, public school parent, and biotech and healthcare professional, was first elected in 2020. She has worked for over 20 years as a clinical scientist in leading biotech/pharma companies.

Wisconsin

Josh Kaul, Democrat, Attorney General, reelected.

beat Eric Toney, Republican

Kaul, 41, is the son of Raj Kaul and former attorney general Peggy Lautenschlager. His election in 2018 switched the office from Republican to Democratic for the first time since January 2007, when Kaul’s mother, left the office after serving a four-year term.

Read: Indian Americans in race for 2022 mid-term elections (November 6, 2022)

Read: Election 2022: Kamala Harris frames elections as the fight for democracy (November 7, 2022)

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